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M3 & Bob Catley Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
20 November 2003

Having recently seen M3 (or Classic Whitesnake, as they should really be called), I hadnít intended to travel up to Wolverhampton again to see them again so soon. That changed when it was announced that Bob and Vince would be doing an acoustic support slot, as Iíd not yet seen their 2-man show.

Bob Catley and Vince O'Regan

Onstage a little after 7:30pm (in a not very full hall, as tickets said doors opened at 7:30), Bob launched into his (now) standard set opener 'Children of the Circle' from the When Empires Burn album with Vince belting out rhythm and melody on a 6-string. Another WEB track, 'This Is The Day' followed before Vince got the 12-string out for an absolutely fabulous version of the Middle Earth track 'Stormcrow and Pilgrim', and an even better 'My America', again from WEB. By now there were plenty of people to give Bob support and he was really getting into it and obviously enjoying himself.

Bob announcing 'Letís play some Magnum songs!' gets the usual appreciative reaction from the audience, and Vince returns to the 6-string for 'Start Talking Love' and 'Lonely Night' as played on Bobís last solo tour. A 12-string led 'Days Of No Trust' proves to be an interesting arrangement of this well known Magnum classic, before they close the set off with a really nice surprise - 'On A Storytellerís Night'. This is just brilliant done on a 12-string, and the highlight of the whole night for me. If anyone in the crowd wasnít properly warmed up after that, they must be dead!

Bob Catley - Vocals and Tambourine
Vince OíRegan - 6 & 12 string guitars

Setlist:

Children Of The Circle, This Is The Day, Stormcrow & Pilgrim, My America, Start Talking Love, Lonely Night, Days Of No Trust, On A Storytellerís Night.

Tony Martin

After what seemed to be an overtly long wait (45 minutes), the 3 Mís and friends casually walk on stage to a huge ovation. Their last gig up here was in the smaller Robin 2 venue, and it was crammed - which made for a good atmosphere on the recently released live recording of that night. This time theyíre in the bigger Wulfrun Hall and there is room to breathe thankfully.

Tony Martin (the 4th ĎMí) drops straight into gear with 'Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues', immediately followed by the true classic 'Donít Break My Heart Again' and the first bit of audience participation. More and more of the classic Whitesnake sound follow - 'Trouble', 'Hit And Run', 'Lonely Days, Lonely Nights'. At least these members of Whitesnake havenít forgotten their roots, and the fans that made them successful. Maybe if Mr. Coverdale heard the passion with which the audience sung along to 'Ready And Willing', heíd reconsider his stance of only playing the post í87 material. 'Child Of Babylon' took us to the halfway mark before all bar one of the team left the stage, Bernie announcing that the next song would be a tribute to Cozy Powell, but in the mean time we were to be left in the capable hands of Mr. Micky Moody.

Micky Moody

Mr. Moodyís hands then proceeded to entertain us with an impressive display of slide guitar playing for about 7 minutes before cueing the return of the rest of the band with the familiar slide intro of 'Slow And Easy'. Jimmy Copley does an excellent job emulating the late, great Cozy in giving the skins some welly, and there would no doubt have been some stinging hands in the audience by the end of the song judging by the noise behind me. 'Young Blood' is followed by Tony Martin giving it his all for 'Crying In The Rain', and doing a very fine job too. Then itís out with the twin neck for some 12-string action and lead vocals by Bernie on 'Ainít Gonna Cry No More', once again the highlight of the set for me.

It is clear that Bernie and Micky have a great rapport on stage from the many years they have worked together, and they extend this to the rest of the band throughout. All appear to be enjoying themselves and appreciating the reaction they are getting. Crowd participation goes into overdrive for the ĎSnake anthem 'Ainít No Love In The Heart Of The City', before the set is closed with 'Fool For Your Loving' and the band leave the stage as they arrived - to a huge ovation. The obligatory encore features 'Here I Go Again' and 'Take Me With You' before the final bows are taken and the curtain comes down on another night that proves that itís the music that counts, not necessarily who is singing it. Given the choice between seeing DC and his assembled pretty boys in a stadium with huge light shows or M3 in a smaller venue and no flash effects, I know where I would prefer to be.

Tony Martin - Vocals
Bernie Marsden - Lead, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars
Micky Moody - Lead and slide guitars
Mark Stanway - Keyboards
Neil Murray - Bass guitar
Jimmy Copley - Drums

Setlist:
Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues, Donít Break My Heart Again, Trouble, Hit And Run, Lonely Days, Lonely Nights, Ready And Willing, Child Of Babylon, Slide Guitar Solo, Slow And Easy, Young Blood, Crying In The Rain, Ainít Gonna Cry No More, Ainít No Love In The Heart Of The City, Fool For Your Loving

Encore:
Here I Go Again, Take Me With You

Review: Ian Pollard
Photographs © 2003 Al Barrow. All rights reserved.


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