Ian Hunter

Rocks Cleveland

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How many golden ages can one rock & roller have? Even allowing for accidents (Overnight Angels), when Ian Hunter set off on his 1979 U.S.A. tour, he'd already worn out a cat and a half's worth of new lives. But You're Never Alone With a Schizophrenic, his fourth album since splitting Mott, and first with Mick Ronson in almost four years, was at least the equal of anything else released that year, and, in concert, the reunion drew thunder from the skies. Even inexperienced Hunter watchers will know this was his best documented tour ever, with both an official double live and the bootleg Drunk on Wisdom and Wine preserving a couple of top-notch nights. Rocks Cleveland, while weighing in with considerably less tracks than either, nevertheless deserves to be considered alongside both. With its emphasis firmly on Schizophrenic, it captures Hunter's prevailing mood with a unique passion. That album swung from gently foreboding to nigh on apocalyptic, but the full live show distilled the impact, slung too many brighter spots in amidst the angst. Heard in fresh isolation, the four Schizophrenic songs here reclaim their intended claustrophobia, and gain a little more. The moment the mutant freak disco "Bastard" lumbers in, breaking through the audience squeals like a Panzer tank through walls, rates alongside a well-played "Dudes" amongst rock's most sublimely goosey-bump moments...and, before you ask, "Dudes" is really well played as well. In other words, Cleveland really did rock that night.

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