To celebrate his 80th birthday, ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman brought his Rhythm Kings band and a few cool friends to entertain a packed house of largely but lively senior members of the Stones fan club at London’s Indigo Club at the 02 Arena Friday night.
His “friends,” which included ex-Them, Van Morrison; ex-Strait, Mark Knopfler; ex-Rat Bob Geldof; guitarist-extraordinaire Martin Taylor; ex-Red Mick Hucknall; E Streeter Steven Van Zandt and ex-Zep Robert Plant, (all of whom in great form,) raised the star-wattage of the show, which was part of several nights of BluesFest programming at the 02.
However, the real star of the evening was not Wyman or his fellow veteran rockers, but The Blues. Appropriately enough, Wyman was surprised with the presentation of the BluesFest Lifetime Achievement Award, a kudo he took with his classic stoic demeanor that temporarily softened at points in the show when Wyman let up on his “thanks to my friends who came out of the woodwork” jokiness to reveal a very sentimental and visibly moved music vet.
For the record, the heart of the Stones does not, in fact, have a heart of stone.
It should be no surprise that the bass player for the Stones, a band that whose early records in the ’60s brimmed with covers of contemporary rhythm and blues gems of the era, is a world-class blues musicologist. Putting his scholarship to good and rocking use, Wyman deftly curated a show that was a monumental display of the timelessness of a couple of dozen hits by both stars and one-hit wonders. On stage with his blistering Rhythm Kings band, Wyman’s focus and trademark bass licks, solid and sticky, underscored Bob Dylan’s oft-quoted comment that “Without Bill Wyman, the Rolling Stones are a funk band.”
What Wyman, the Rhythm Kings and Friends served up all night instead, was rock that never failed to roll, deep fried boogie woogie and Dah Blues.
While long-time Queen of the Rhythm Kings, singer Beverly Skeete tore into r & b superstar James Brown’s classic “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” Hucknall brought Wilson Pickett’s “634-5789” to muscular life, and Morrison inhabited Little Walter’s “Mean Ole World,” the show was more typically chockablock with powerful, accomplished takes on one-offers like Bob and Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle” and the rousing closer that Plant led, single-hitter Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford’s “I Need Your Lovin.”
The show also celebrated the country roots of the blues boom of the ’60s, with Morrison’s searing take on Jimmy Rodger’s “Muleskinner Blues” and vet rocker Joe Brown’s celebration (with Knopfler) of key U.K. “skiffle” mainstay, Lonnie Donegan.
What the show also slyly demonstrated was that based upon Wyman’s playlist, the Stones may have been adept or even vital interpreters of American rhythm and blues, but the musical forms themselves were created and perfected by black writers and entertainers, some of whom are household names, many of whom known only to aficionados like Wyman and friends.
Continue via… Source: Bill Wyman: Stone Rolls Into His ’80s With Zep’s Plant, Van Morrison, and Others