13 November 2018

Michael Monroe – Shepherds Bush Empire , London – 12.11.18

My scheduled interview with Michael Monroe was cancelled at the last minute due to “health reasons” on the part of the ex Hanoi Rocks front man.

So when he took to the stage at the Empire, bounding in like a puppy waving a red luminous stick, I did question the validity of the above.

For a gent born in the early 60’s (you do the sums) he looked lean and well-toned, some people 30 years younger couldn’t pull off wearing black skinny flared jeans, matching waistcoat embroidered with white patterns overlaid with red instruments and a variety of caps to finish the ensemble, Michael did and could. Like wise with his traditional platinum blonde hair and bright red lipstick.  That said the vast majority of young people on the planet couldn’t do the splits, let alone every 5 minutes for 45. So, before we even get to the rest, Michael Monroe can do a lot of stuff that most people can’t, and I haven’t even mentioned the saxophone or harmonica.

Michael Monroe is a rock star, not in the Jon Bon Jovi or Chad Kroeger vain, more the Lemmy’s and Kory Clarkes of this world. He lives the lifestyle, that is what he does , that is who he is. He was born to do it. Bollocks to the rest.

For those readers who do not know who Michael Monroe is, and shame on you , I will refer you to various search engines on the internet to make your own enquiries. I will say however, those people would have heard of GnR  and Motley Crue which like the all the other hair metal bands that emerged in the early 1980’s on The Strip  are indebted and influenced to and by MM and his band Hanoi Rocks.

MM is a musician who thrives on the live crowd, he loves them as much as the front rows love him. If someone wants to see him perform, he will do it and will give 100% doing so, even if it kills him.

MM clearly was not on full form, his voice was nowhere near that of previous gigs, but this was not going to stop him giving the crowd what they wanted, and he did, and they loved him for it. His band is half his age and they did a fine job , the set list consisted of 12 tracks , spanning his Hanoi Rocks , D23 days and material from his current band and covers from Nazareth , Creedence Clearwater Revival and a stonking version of Long way to go off Alice Coopers 1971 LP Love it to death. The crowd seemed bemused, but the hard core got it and he made it his own. Saxophone and harmonica playing just adds to the MM talents.

MM was not on top form , his voice proved that , but did it actually matter ?

In Show business the famous line goes “the show must go on”, and that is exactly what happened tonight, I hope not to the detriment of the man himself , he is a rock star , but tonight he actually proved he is  something more important than that , he is a professional .

For that sir, I doth my cap to you.

Set List

Ballad of the Lower East Side

Trick of the wrist

Malibu Beach Nightmare

Old Kings Road

This ain’t no love song

78

Long way to go

Nothin’s alright

Hammersmith Palais

Not Faking It

Up around the bend

Dead , jail or Rock n Roll

 

 

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