the charlatans and ronnie wood

There’s no concrete definition of the term ‘hero’, but for many people here at Shepherds Bush Empire the word translate pretty much directly to ‘Pete Doherty‘.

When he ambles onstage with Babyshambles for tonight’s warm-up slot, the crowd soak up every last note. Pete’s on fire, convulsing around each frenzied guitar riff like he’s got 3,000 volts running through his body.

We should point out that The Magic Numbers were equally spell-binding beforehand. Their opening set whipped up sumptuous harmonies and swoonsome West Coast pop, ensuring that those who turned up early left with another new band to start worshipping.

Talking of hero worship, how’s this for an introduction: “In my opinion the best guitarist in the world!” So froths Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess before Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood bound onstage to join them.

The Charlatans had already wowed the crowd with indie-disco staples like ‘One To Another‘. But it’s the vision of two generations of good-time rock’n’rollers hugging each other through Charlies classic (‘North Country Boy‘) and old Faces belters (‘Ooh La La‘) that really transforms Shepherds Bush Empire into a beer-stained mosh frenzy and officially the World’s Greatest Pub Closing Time Singalong.

Tim can barely disguise his teen-glee, getting down on bended knee while Ronnie throws out soulful slide-guitar licks during ‘A Man Needs To be Told‘.

If ever a definition of ‘hero’ was needed, you really didn’t have to look any further than tonight’s show.

According to fans at the show, Wood got up on stage towards the end of the gig and helped out his old pals.

One fan said: “He managed to knock out three songs, ‘Stay With Me’ (the Faces classic), ‘Sproston Green’ and ‘Just Lookin’. It was an amazing surprise!”

The Charlatans ft Ronnie Wood – North Country Boy

© NME 18 December 2004

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