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Thunder @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton (10/7/09)

posted 25 Jul 2011, 13:26 by Paul Woodward

Over 3,000 people turned up to see Thunder for the last time at Wolverhampton Civic Hall. The venue was packed and very hot! Everyone was excited about the show as Thunder always deliver as one of the greatest British live bands of all time - it’s obviously a bittersweet night for most!

Considering Thunder never truly hit the big time, they can sure pull a bigger crowd than most of those that did succeed. It was great seeing a wide range of age’s in the audience from teens to 60’s proving that Thunder are far from a nostalgia act and the music is still as relevant as it ever was.

Electric Boys

The recently reformed Electric Boys kicked off the show tonight and despite a short set they get the crowd into the swing of things and start the party well. The band got a very good response and there were obviously some old fans of the band in the crowd. Amongst their set-list was “Psychedelic Eyes” , “All Lips & Hips”, “Captain Of My Soul” & “Groovus Maximus”.

I believe I would have preferred to have seen AOR band Airrace who had supported Thunder on a couple of dates earlier in the tour. Personally, Electric Boys were a little too funky for my taste and a lot of their material failed to impress me. Although I would say I was in the minority as the band received serious cheers after every song and they did put on a good performance!

Thunder

Let’s get this clear - Thunder are my favourite band! They were the first band I ever got into and I’ve seen them LIVE countless times, so no matter what, tonight was gonna be a very emotional night for me. I can’t remember the last time Thunder toured and didn’t play Wolverhampton Civic so it was fitting that their final tour included the Civic. There is always a great turn out for the band and always a fantastic atmosphere!

Before tonight I reviewed the set lists from previous shows to give me an idea of what to expect, but not one single gig was exactly the same, so I hoped none of my favourites would be omitted from tonight’s show. On the whole I thought the set list was fantastic and yes, a lot of my personal choices were in there, but there was no “Higher Ground” or “River of Pain”! Having said that the only way the band would be able to play everything I wanted would have meant three different sets over a three night stint at the Civic!

They kick-started the set as they meant to go on with a full force performance of “Backstreet Symphony” which the crowd went nuts for, with lots of dancing and singing-along! “Dirty Dream” was up next from rather excellent Robert Johnson’s Tombstone album, which got another great reaction from the packed auditorium. Considering most people reflect on the band’s first album as their finest hour, it’s great that the newer songs got such an amazing reaction! “Everybody Wants Her” was up next and as one of Thunder’s most well known songs got everyone singing and continued the upbeat atmosphere!

Cue my first “I think I’ve got something in my eye” moment as the opening chords of “Castles In The Sand” ring through the venue. This was one of my personal favourites that I wasn’t actually expecting to get played.

The band quickly got back into the upbeat swing of things by launching into a lot of fans live favourite “Gimme Some Lovin”, with its infectious riff getting everyone dancing! Next was probably a highlight of the set, “Until My Dying Day” the band’s performance of this was spot on and the response from the crowd emphasized that we were all well up for it tonight! Its another of MY songs and I’m so glad I got to hear it one last time done so well!

It is by now stating the obvious that there was another fantastic crowd reaction to a newer song as the infectious “The Devil Made Me Do It” got the whole crowd bouncing, before slowing down for the amazing “Love Walked In” which instigated my second “My contact lenses are playing up” moment. “Love Walked In “ was the first song I ever got into after hearing it on a rock compilation album I’d been given, which in turn lead to me becoming a massive Thunder Fan. I knew they’d play this one, but as the song came to a close it really hit home that this was an end of an era and I would never hear this song LIVE again!

The next couple of songs included in the set list surprised me, “Stand Up” & “Just Another Suicide (You Wanna Know)”. Both went down really well but I haven’t heard chart hit “Stand Up” for a long time so it was good to get a chance to do so again! I was pleasantly surprised at the reaction to “Just Another Suicide” which is from perhaps one of the bands weakest albums “Giving The Game Away”, but then again the band threw themselves into this song and turned out to be another highlight of their performance.

Then a return to their debut album for “Don’t Wait For Me” before launching into set closer “ I Love You More Than Rock N Roll” with Ben Matthews banging away on the cowbell, which simply had the crowd bouncing around yet again!

The band didn’t stay off-stage for long as the crowd chanted and cheered for the band to come back for the encore, which cued my next “I accidentally pinched the girl next to me’s bum and got mace’d arghhh” moment as Harry joined the band at the front of the stage on guitar for “A Better Man”. Needless to say the audience was ‘one’ with the band and produced one of the finest moments of the night as the Wolverhampton crowd sang the final chorus, it’ll be on the LIVE CD so check it out!

Then they blasted right into another of my favourites this time from the Magnificent Seventh album,  “Fade Into The Sun” which got everybody back dancing and geared up for the finale.

Although, the atmosphere and the crowd were fantastic all night, I wasn’t prepared to the reaction too “Dirty Love” to say everyone went nuts is a massive understatement! Obviously the band’s most well loved song and every Thunder fan in the house made the most of it one last time and blew the roof off!

Then it was over….

I’ve never seen a bad Thunder show, and tonight was no different. All the band played well and Danny controlled the crowd as he always does getting them to sing-along,, clap, dance , wave their hands on demand! There was lots of energy, lots of smiles and a few tears along the way! If there’s one thing Thunder do well its perform LIVE, they’ll be sorely missed in the live music scene.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a few tears on my way home, R.I.P. Thunder 1989-2009.

Woody
for Midlands Rocks

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