Having Laughs In Bannerman’s Bar
There have been many great comedic double acts through the years. Laurel And Hardy, Abbott And Costello, The 2 Ronnies and Morecambe And Wise (legends in the UK especially) and it now appears they have some new potential additions in ex-Almighty and now Black Star Riders‘ Ricky Warwick and ex-Alice Cooper and also BSR man Damon Johnson! Both work beautifully together causing many funny moments whether it be stories or acting out and winding each other up. The main difference, of course, is that the latter can call on a wonderful catalog of songs to entertain us with as well.
The guys decided to finish their tour in Edinburgh in Bannerman’s Bar on Sunday night, October 14, 2018. The show was sold out and the crowd was definitely up for it judging by the reactions as the duo hit the stage.
The set included tracks not only from Black Star Riders, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy, The Almighty but also covers from Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Motorhead and Johnny Thunders with a sprinkling of their own solo material. So yes, there was plenty of singalongs, bouncing and clapping. All of which was excellent. Yet in a way, the thing that made the evening was the banter and fooling around.
I did ask friends who had seen some previous shows on the tour about how much was said or done that was part of the regular act and was informed: “not very much”. They truly are nights independent of each other. No phoning it in so to speak. I suppose as much of the gig is unscripted it lives up to the Lizzy maxim of “Live And Dangerous”.
You can tell how much fun (as well as genuine friendship and respect) that both Ricky and Damon were having. That reached into the packed audience causing much laughter and fun too.
More About The Show Itself
The highlights were many between the songs and chat. I will try to pick some of my favorite moments from the show to give a taste of how it was on the night. “Borderline” was executed beautifully with some first-class harmonies going on. This was introduced by Damon as his favorite ever Lizzy song even saying as a teen he wanted to get a girlfriend just to break up and have this as their break up song! He may or may not have been joking!
The Almighty classic “Wild And Wonderful” segued into Bryan Adams “Run To You” which led to the guys talking about Rush (the Canadian connection) where Ricky said how good they are but the problem was that they “had too many chords in the songs”. The crowd absolutely belted out the Almighty song.
“Schwaben Redoubt,” one of Ricky’s solo songs was sung with such passion and emotion. Using an incident which happened in the Somme in World War I to highlight the stupidity of religious divide (focussing on Northern Ireland) with 2 people up the front fighting together against a common enemy yet if at home would be fighting each other. A strong statement against religious intolerance.
That background was further explored in “Celebrating Sinking” where Ricky told how his dad decided to move the family out of Northern Ireland for safety to of all places Glasgow! He admitted he was “fucking terrified” when he arrived as a kid.
“Pontiac,” a Damon song which I confess I didn’t know was another great moment on a night with many good ones. The look of appreciation from Ricky at the end spoke volumes. A nice touch of Americana on the night.
The sold-out crowd was lively and were up for singing most of the night with great response on both “Finest Hour” and “Kingdom Of The Lost” (both BSR songs) especially.
Before “18” Damon explained the difference of working with Ricky compared to Alice Cooper (or as Damon calls him ”Coop”) to much hilarity. Calling his previous boss the “golf instructor” he said the main difference was “payment” making Ricky sound like a skinflint!
Very early on we got to get what the night would be as Ricky slaughtered a well-known pub chain for its Sunday dinners. I am not going to name them but the crack about a Metallica song being based on them being called “Harvester Of Sorrow” might give some clues. There was much hilarity between the pair right from the off. There was a moment where Damon jumped all over the set list where Ricky announced that the band was now splitting up as of tonight. Well, being the last show of the tour I suppose they did.
In amongst all that we had songs like “Ace Of Spades”, “Jailbreak”, “Rockin’ In The Free World”, “The Boys Are Back In Town”, “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Whiskey In The Jar” as well.
Excellent Support Given
Sam Wood (Wayward Sons) and Gill Montgomery (The Amorettes) played a selection of The Amorettes songs on acoustic guitars, along with one cover of the Faces “Stay With Me”. The reception for the pair was amazing. They fed off it and gave us a terrific start to the evening. There was lots of nice humor going on and some lovely soloing from Sam throughout. They threatened to play a Lizzy cover, as it was too late to be thrown off the tour. We were told that we as a crowd were simply “one of the best 15 shows on the tour” which again brought laughter. Both Gill and Sam are engaging and easy to warm to and really got a great atmosphere going for the headliners.
I loved every minute of the night and from speaking with others around me that seemed to be the case all round. Both acts commanded the stage, the crowd and supplied wonderful songs with great humor and hilarity. If they do another acoustic tour like this then do not miss it.