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13th September, 1999 - Princess Charlotte, Leicester.

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I had the pleasure of catching "Luke Morley" (Thunder, of course) and "Andy Taylor" (ex Duran Duran and Power Station) on a little tour of the smaller clubs in the UK.  And although it is not perhaps the normal persuasion of rock that is my preferred leaning, it was a most splendid concert.  I have been a fan of Thunder from the beginning really, but feel that they have become a little tired over the last few years.  With "Thrill of it all" being the low point for me and "Giving The Game Away" an improvement, I was really interested to see what Luke and Andy could come up with. Luke Morley 1
Anna and Tara McDonald Billed as "An Evening with Luke Morley and Andy Taylor" they played around 90 minutes of very tight and mature rock and blues. The tightness was not really that surprising as on the Bass and the Drums were Thunder's own Chris Childs (ex-Then Jericho) and Harry James respectfully.  Also, there was Michael Martin (a session keyboard player) and two beautiful (and very fit) sisters on backing vocalists called Tara and Anna McDonald.

The point here though is that this wasn't Thunder on tour, they were not belting the riffs out, this music was far more subtle.  The music they played was roughly half covers of their respective bands and half of their own original collaborations, plus the odd cover of old (blues and soul) classics.  The choice of Thunder songs that they did play was (according to Luke) limited by which ones he or Andy could manage to sing.   But, they were a nice inclusion in a set that was comprised of so many unknown songs, it gave some re-focus and recognition to the proceedings.  There was also a surprisingly nice version of Duran Duran's "Save A Prayer" with an excellent guitar solo that just gave you goosebumps.

The main reason of the evening though, was to play the songs they had pulled together whilst on a boozy break at Andy's place in Spain earlier in the year.  These allowed them to do something outside of what say, Thunder would allow Luke to do.  The opening song, "Quiet Life", was fairly typical, nice rolling cords, steady laid back rhythm and lyrics that sum up the attitude, (chilling out and relaxing, no worries).  My personal favourite was an excellent song called "Can't Stop The Rain" which has some really nice guitar playing, full of emotion and was a like "Stevie Via" playing "Santana", most excellent.

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I was very surprised at the standard of Andy's playing.   As he has not been in a band for quite some time, I thought he may be a little rusty, but he was a lot better than I expected.  Not only that, but he achieved a nice sound and the remark from Luke some where near the end of the gig, kinda says where he was in the mix.   "Andy Taylor, the man with the loudest guitar in the world" he announced.  Indeed, Andy played quite a number of the lead breaks and sang the majority of the vocals.   That said there was always Luke's presence, he came over very warmly and looked like he was really enjoying himself. 

Tara Solo

Then there was the girls, Tara and Anna McDonald.  They were a very useful inclusion into the sound and helped assist Luke and Andy's vocals quite nicely.  Also, they were a welcome break from having to look at grimacing guitar players all night (smile). You can't beat a couple of good looking girls bouncing around, lifts your spirits it does.  There was also time for a solo spot for Tara, who very bravely came to the front to sing a song, approx. mid-set.  She performed very well, having a good strong voice and projected her nice warm personality (As an aside Luke is currently writing with Tara and will also produce the outcome).

Overall then, an excellent night that felt special and one which I kinda felt privileged to be at.   An opportunity to see some fine musicians play some fine tunes in a venue that was like them playing in your front room.  A real treat for fans of Thunder.   Intimate, personal and ..... yeah, special.



Also, I was lucky enough to get hold of a Limited Edition demo CD containing four of their new songs, entitled "The Spanish Sessions". If you can blag a copy from somewhere, then do so.  I think there was only 1,000 copies of this CD manufactured.  Click here to read the review.




Luke Morley and Andy Taylor plus:

Drums - Harry James (Thunder)
Bass - Chris Childs (Thunder)
Keyboards - Michael Martin (Session Musician - Eternal, E-17, etc)
Backing Vocals - Tara and Anna McDonald

The 1999 dates were:

12th September - Sheffield, Leadmill
13th September - Leicester, Princess Charlotte
14th September - Glasgow, King Tutts Wah Wah Hut
15th September - Manchester, Roadhouse
16th September - London, Borderline

The set list (I think):

01 Quiet Life
02 Sleeping With The Past
03 The 1st Day
04 Lightning
05 This World
06 Road to Paradise
07 Save A Prayer
08 Loving You
09 It Could Be Tonight

10 All I Ever Wanted
11 Don't Count Me Out
12 Can't Stop The Rain
13 Waste Of Time
14 Love Will Find A Way
15 Get It On
16 Lady Madonna
17 Be Good To Yourself
Some words from Luke, before the gigs:

"Andy and I are really excited about doing these shows. It's something we've talked about doing for a few years but the right time has never presented itself as we've both been busy with other things. Basically we'll be playing various stuff that we've written together over the last few years. We've got some great material just kind of laying around that's never been heard and this is a great opportunity for us to go out and perform it live.

I don't want to spoil it by giving too much away, suffice to say any Thunder fans who show up expecting a set of Thunder songs will probably be disappointed, but anyone who does come with an open mind will hear some great music they've never heard before.

Hope to see you there."


All pix by M.K and Y.I (I extend my thanks).