Live review: Phil Bates at Liverpool Marina – 12th March, 2015
Posted on: Saturday, Mar 14, 2015
Phil Bates at Liverpool Marina – 12th March, 2015
Best known for his considerable contribution to ELO2 and other ELO-related projects, Phil Bates appeared at Liverpool Marina in solo, acoustic format, sprinkling a blues-infused influence over a wide range of musical styles. That he is able to tailor his vocal delivery and guitar-based mastery to such a variety of material speaks volumes for his exceptional talent and versatility.
On the opening number, his own excellent composition, “House Of Blues”, he demonstrated his songwriting prowess before producing excellent versions of Robert Johnson’s “Kind Hearted Woman”, Clapton/Cray’s “Old Love” and Keb’ Mo’s “As Soon As I Get Paid”. Ry Cooder’s thoughtful ballad, “Across The Border Line” was then balanced by “21st Century Blues”, a splendid rag-rhythmed original.
A wonderful, very different interpretation of The Beatles’ “She’s A Woman” was followed by Steve Earle’s Latin-tinged country blues “Goodbye” before the marvellous first set was brought to a close with “I’m At The End Of My Rope”, a humorous take on trying to make financial ends meet.
The second set started with another two original compositions, the appropriately fast-moving “World’s Gone Crazy”, which reflected on the ever-increasing frantic pace of life, and the largely optimistic “Walking Back Towards The Light”. The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” then made way for the blistering-paced instrumental “Broken Fingers”, with due deference to Adrian Legg, who inspired its creation.
Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” was embellished with a fabulous guitar solo ahead of a highly amusing take on the ageing process – “If I’d Known I Was Going To Live This Long, I’d Have Taken Better Care Of Myself”. A fine rendition of “Sensitive Kind” paid a warm tribute to JJ Cale, complete with another superb guitar solo, in advance of a tremendous version of The Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time”.
Further variation was provided by a rocking shuffle and Charlie Rich’s bluesy ballad, “Feel Like Going Home”, before the sole musical reference to ELO was interpolated in the form of “Evil Woman”. The magical evening was brought to an all-too-soon conclusion with a lovely interpretation of “Need Your Love So Bad”. Finally, it was sad to hear that Phil is planning to stop performing solo gigs after another couple of appearances, but it was a privilege to be present at one of his last performances in that mode, which will remain a delightful memory for a very long time.