What should you expect from a concert, from a band, lead by a man who has an encyclopaedic knowledge and love of music, and has gathered together some friends, who have an equal knowledge and love of music? Well, you get a tale of Bill Wyman and Frank Mead’s workouts in the gym sorting out the setlist, and the revelation that Howlin’ Wolf was a welsh coal miner! You also get around two and a half hours of first class, classic blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and whatever else takes their fancy.
Bill Wyman strolled on to the Barbican stage to introduce the band, but first mentioned the sad news that as Georgie Fame had been taken ill earlier on in the tour, he wouldn’t be appearing. Happily he’s getting better and now convalescing. If this put extra pressure on the band’s singers, you wouldn’t have noticed it.
Beverley Skeete, hit the spot all night, in particular with It’s a Mans World. The rest were up to the task too; Geraint Watkins — after a long, meandering and very funny intro — sang a terrific interpretation of Howlin’ Wolf’s 300lb of Joy. There was an interesting harmonica and vocal turn from Frank Mead on Just a Fool. Later Albert Lee took to the keyboard and gave us a touching take on The Everly Brothers’ Crying in the Rain. Even Wyman, who had spent most of the night observing and strumming from the back, came forward to sing set closer You Never Can Tell.
Special guest Maria Muldaur reached back to her first solo album. Inevitably Midnight at the Oasis was the plum, though a slinky Don’t You Feel My Leg probably suited the mood of the evening better.