The Sweet live in London 2021

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Apparently "you're never too old to Rock". Never has this been proven more than tonight

THE SWEET, MATT PEARCE
London: Islington Assembly Hall – 28 November 2021

Matt Pearce stepped in last minute after Limehouse Lizzy were unable to perform and did a classy acoustic set of his original Matt Pearce And The Mutiny Bluesy songs like 'Set Me Free' (not a Sweet cover of the song of the same name) and Led Zep style version of Prince's 'Strange Relationship' with Daliah Sherrington.

Even before Sweet hit the stage the crowd were chanting "We Want Sweet". They kicked off as they meant to go on with 'Action', a cover of 'New York Groove' and 'Hellraiser'. Andy Scott then took the opportunity to address the crowd, saying he was glad that he was asked for his Covid passport and "until this is over we need to be doing things properly and Brucey (the drummer) and I don't wanna die". He also explained he had a trapped nerve "so this hand is not doing what it should but I can do one of these" as he demonstrated the Dio horns. Then with the roar of the crowd they launched into 'The Sixteens'. I have to say if he had not told anyone I am not sure anyone would have realised he had an injury.

They play relatively new track 'Defender', explaining it was released five years ago on 'The Ultimate Sweet Story' double album and thanking the Germans for buying it, before going back to the seventies with 'Windy City' and 'Set Me Free' with Scott continuing to entertain by moving a tin can up and down the neck of his guitar and pointing it at the crowd. Paul Manzi demonstrated his extremely good voice with excellent high notes. After a fabulous reaction from the crowd Scott comments "Thank you SO much I have missed this."

Next up is the extremely beautiful intro and exceptional guitar tone of 'Everything', a track like Foreigner with high harmonies and liberal use of the whammy bar. Manzi comments "Not bad for a dodgy nerve" and he definitely has a point, albeit with much understatement.

The crowd begin to chant "We Want Sweet" before going wild and start dancing as next up is crowd favourite 'Teenage Rampage' with a super high note to end. I am delighted they play almost the whole of 'Wig Wam Bam' (my favourite) followed by 'Little Willy'. By this time the crowd are singing every word.

Noticing the crowd's fervour Scott comment "Thank you for the charts, in my day you bought records: today you stick Botox in your lips and get your mates to vote for you. Half a million views of the video. I can see people from personal zoom sessions be safe," alluding elliptically to the band's increased presence on social media.

Another big highlight is 'Love Is Like Oxygen', morphing into 'Fanfare For The Common Man'. Introducing the band Andy says the band has never been more of a brotherhood and citing Manzi's vocals as the best he has heard in years. Manzi in turn describes Scott as "the man with the freakishly high voice and unique guitar tone that many have tried to copy and have failed."

The sci-fi sounding intro signals another huge tune, 'Fox On The Run', as Scott goes berserk with fingers up and down frets. The air raid siren can only mean one thing; 'Blockbuster' as the crowd pogos so hard they make the wooden floor bounce. Finishing with 'Ballroom Blitz' they leave announcing "Thank You London. We love you."

Quite simply Sweet songs never get old. The audience may be largely vintage, but I guarantee as they sang and bopped to 'Teenage Rampage' they felt very young again. Apparently "you're never too old to Rock". Never has this been proven more than tonight.

Dawn Osborne

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