Between his work with Mott the Hoople and a clutch of solo albums, Ian Hunter has accumulated enough great tunes to fill at least a double album of classic performances, which he did in 1980 with Welcome to the Club. This short but rocking 75-minute set, recorded the same year for German television, captures all the songs from that seminal live album with the identical band. Guitarist Mick Ronson is in particularly solid form and is featured nearly as much as Hunter, especially on the instrumentals that bookend the concert.
Once you get past the VHS-quality video and somewhat compressed audio, this is a terrific document. Hunter cuts loose on Mott classics, solo highlights and even an old Sonny Bono cover with enthusiasm and the sense of showmanship that slogging it out for years in clubs provides. Extended versions of “Just Another Night” and “Cleveland Rocks” rev up the energy and place the photogenic Hunter firmly in control of the proceedings. He and the late Ronson were born rock stars; they strut their stuff with class and confidence, making this a near classic video that finds both musicians hitting career peaks.
– Hal Horowitz