Home Albums Album Review : Black Stone Cherry – ‘Live from the Royal Albert Hall Y’all’*

Album Review : Black Stone Cherry – ‘Live from the Royal Albert Hall Y’all’*

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Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

If ever you wanted a clear illustration of the power of music and the bond between performer and audience, look no further than here.

Recorded on their 2021 tour of the UK, this show from one of the most legendary venues in the world is a demonstration of how a band at the peak of their powers
can move mountains.

Black Stone Cherry have always been a formidable live act, their high octane, kick-ass Southern Rock filtering all that’s good about the genre, souping it up and giving it all an injection of modernity that, conversely, is anchored in tradition.

It’s a brilliant balancing act, the band appealing to fans of the more classic stylings yet also able to reach out across the generations to people just discovering rock music. Barring their superb song writing, the key to their success lies both in their irresistibly frenetic shows but also in the way they can communicate with a whisper as well as with a full-blooded yell.

It’s possible that the vast and historic auditorium that is the RAH has never heard such full-on, raucous and rafter shaking music as this, the energy onstage from drummer John Fred Young alone enough to power every light in Kensington and nearby Knightsbridge. Match this with the constantly moving blur that is guitarist Ben Wells, the equally dynamic Steve Jewell Jr on bass and the powerful presence of frontman and guitarist Chris Robertson and you have something unstoppable.

From muscular opener ‘Me And Mary Jane’ onwards, Black Stone Cherry weren’t taking prisoners, the determination to make every second on stage count etched into their faces as they poured literally everything into their performance.

Whilst the vinyl and CD versions of the show practically crackle with electricity, it’s on the Blu Ray disc that the full force of the event hit the hardest, immersing the watcher in something they would have sold the family jewels to have been at.

The bruising ‘Again’ is full of dynamics and makes you want to turn the volume up even further and ‘Yeah Man’ will turn your furniture into matchsticks. Sure, there are plenty of punchy anthems, from the swagger of ‘Ringin’ in My Head’ and the feel-good country-tinged bounce of ‘Like I Roll’ but there’s also plenty of emotion amongst the fire.

Perfectly highlighting this, the heart breaking and soulful heft of ‘Things My Father Said’ is almost difficult to watch, the pain felt by Robertson as he tries to sing its poignant lyrics tangible, the camera panning briefly to an empty chair intended to pay tribute to his late father as the audience helps the Kentuckian out on the vocals.

Although a relatively new addition to the band, Jewell is given his own fair share of time in the spotlight too, his playing on ‘Cheaper to Drink Alone’ showing a man totally at home.

In fact, the candid backstage footage that peppers the disc shows a band who, whilst not impervious to irritation with equipment failures, certainly display not one scintilla of egomania between them.

To reinforce this fact, several fans bear witness to the openness of the band, their willingness to communicate offstage to everyone
breaking down barriers and engendering a love and loyalty that flows both ways.

The highlights are many throughout, be it the instantly accessible ‘Soul Creek’, a soaring ‘Blind Man’ or the double hit of old fan favourites ‘Blame It On the Boom Boom’ and ‘White Trash Millionare’, there’s something for everyone here. By the time that Robertson and Wells play a soulful ‘Peace is Free’ its game set and match to the quartet.

They may have played to bigger crowds but this one show was the most important of their career thus far and they deserve every moment of praise for the achievement.

You’ll sing, you’ll dance and you may just shed a tear or two, but one thing is for certain and that’s you’ll have the time of your life. Welcome to the family y’all.

Live From The Royal Albert Hall… Y’All’ tracklisting:

  1. Me and Mary Jane (Live)
  2. Burnin’ (Live)
  3. Again (Live)
  4. Yeah Man (Live)
  5. In My Blood/Island Jam (Live)
  6. Ringin’ In My Head (Live)
  7. Like I Roll (Live)
  8. Cheaper To Drink Alone (Live)
  9. Hell and High Water (Live)
  10. Soulcreek (Live)
  11. Devil’s Queen (Live)
  12. Drum Solo (Live)
  13. Things My Father Said (Live)
  14. In Love With The Pain (Live)
  15. Blind Man (Live)
  16. Blame It On The Boom Boom (Live)
  17. White Trash Millionaire (Live)
  18. Lonely Train (Live)
  19. Peace Is Free (Live)

Find BLACK STONE CHERRY Online:

https://blackstonecherry.com/

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