Concert Reviews

Thunder - 'All The Right Noises' TV Special Hot
Written by James Gaden     March 23, 2021    
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Thunder are always good value for money when it comes to a live show, even when there wasn't an audience, and this was no exception.

I have reviewed a number of different and varied things over my years with Fireworks, but none as unusual as this – A recorded "live" performance, where there was no audience present, sat at home in my comfy recliner with a beer close at hand. The event in question was a TV Special from Thunder, a band I have seen more times on the live stage (be it support or headliner) than any other act – I reckon it must be in the late thirties by now!

When I first stuck my hand up for this, I was mistakenly under the impression that it would be an actual live performance from the band that was shown as it happened. In truth, the gig was recorded back on 26th February with a selection of the Thunder Channel members watching via the internet, who were displayed on large screens in front of the band and regularly shown through the show. Truth be told, whilst I was a touch disappointed it was not as live as I had originally expected, the show was likely a touch smoother for having been recorded and edited prior to being shown. Visually, the band were in a darkened studio with screens showing the album cover/the Thunder logo as a backdrop. Taking part were the usual suspects – Danny Bowes (vocals), Luke Morley (guitar), Chris Childs (bass) and Harry James (drums) – with the exception of Ben Matthews (guitar/keys) who was ill on the day of recording. Filling in for him was Rob Harris who stepped in to help, along with Sam Tanner (keyboards), Julie "The Duchess" Maguire (backing vocals – vocalist for Space Elevator) and Carly Greene (backing vocals).

Given it was a TV Special to promote the new album, which the band can't tour to support until next year due to Covid, it will come as no surprise that the set-list mainly consisted of tracks from the new album. Of the eleven songs on the new record, the band played nine of them (omitting 'St. George's Day' and somewhat surprisingly 'Force Of Nature'). They all sounded great when performed live, although for me personally, 'Last One Out, Turn Off The Lights', She's A Millionairess', 'Going To Sin City' and 'You're Gonna Be My Girl' went down a storm and should be absolutely barnstorming when played to an actual audience. At the mid-point, the four members sat down and took some questions from those watching the show at home with the repliers featuring the usual banter you expect from the Thunder guys. They also played a couple of slower numbers as well before returning to their feet to play out the last half hour. In addition to the nine new tracks, there were outings for the cracking 'The Devil Made Me Do It', 'Serpentine', 'Better Man' (in the sit-down portion), the fantastic 'Love Walked In' and, of course, the all-time belter 'Dirty Love'.

The band themselves, and their guest contributors, all gave a fabulous performance of the songs. Thunder are famous for their crowd participation moments – after all... this is a band where Bowes confesses that the mission statement from a Thunder show is to send the audience home "physically destroyed" – and I can't deny it wasn't a little strange not to have those moments during the likes of 'The Devil Made Me Do It' and 'Love Walked In'. Bowes did interact with those on the screens asking for thumbs up, waves and seemed genuinely pleased and happy to have at least some interaction. I must confess to chuckling away when he couldn't resist but ask for singing at the end of 'Dirty Love', and then got right up to the camera and pulled a strained expression as if trying to hear something. It was also great to see the famous Danny-Dancing make several appearances throughout the show. It was also good that they left the odd mistake in there, such as the rather funny moment where Bowes starts introducing a song only to be told by Morley that they were playing a different song, to which the vocalist had to check his set-list taped to the floor. It was just one more of those memorable and funny Thunder moments. The sound was excellent throughout, albeit Bowes sounded a touch low in the mix and the backing singers a touch too high to my ears when watching on the big TV. However, I was able to watch it again the next day on the laptop with my decent headphones and it all sounded even better, and thus I have to conclude that it was the TV that was the issue and not the sound of the show.

Thunder are always good value for money when it comes to a live show, even when there wasn't an audience, and this was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed this ninety-minute "gig" (even if it was strange to be sat down watching them play) and the new songs look to have plenty of "live play-ability". When the group finally get to hit the arena stages for their long-postponed five-date tour, it should be an absolute blast and I am very much looking forward to seeing them at Wembley. In the meantime, it was nice to spend some time with Thunder via this TV Special. Given it was a unique event for them, I hope they will make it available as a DVD/CD sometime in the future so those Thunder Channel members who watched it live and those like me who witnessed it premiere can revisit this unique show from a rather unique period in history.

Dave Scott

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