“Dankeschön” – this is the first word we hear from the “Modfather” on the stage in Hamburgs “Docks” tonight. He looks young these days, without obvious botox-treatments more like spending a few sunny days on mallorca. The hairstyle lent from rod stewart has been replaced by a slightly off-centred parting in silver. And he sports grey all over: star sweater, cloth slacks plus proper black shoes. Apparently his whole front-line of the 5-piece backing band ditched the jeans-and-sneakers look for something more wisely. Why am I writing about the appearance in such detail? Because the music doesn’t grab me as much these days. Yes we are treated by great songs – but that ends when the band enters the stage.
With his new phase in life – new wife, new twins – he seems to have gained energy but sadly that doesn’t mean new energetic songs. Instead we are treated by ordinary rock tunes that only seldomly show traces of his former glory. More often he exchanges riffs with Steve Cradock (Ocean Colour Scene) and sometimes lengthens out the songs with solos by his band.
Highlights of the night were “Kosmos” and “Into Tomorrow” (with a nice rhythmic drum section) plus the old favourite of freshly married couples “You do something to me”. Otherwise we were really disappointed. A friend of mine jokingly addressed this “We didn’t went to war for this” as the show started to veer heavily off to Hawkwind Land.
Still a lot of other musicians would – and should – kill for having written just a slice of his back catalogue. But nowadays he seems to prefer the blues rock of humble pie to the innovative and livelier pop approach of the small faces. In fact, with the new song “Long Time Long Time” which will appear on his soon to be released new album “Saturn’s Pattern” he sounds – and looks – like Rick Parfitt of Status Quo (ouch). Perhaps he is bored with the old stuff – and he has every right to try something different. And sometimes – like his one-off single “Starlite” – i am positively surprised. But largely he is going the rock route others have gone before. Judging by the reaction of some of the younger german audience, this could work for him. But sadly not for me.