Thunder - LIVE: HMV Oxford Street, London 2015

Wonder Days In-store Acoustic Session
February 17 (18:05 - 18:35)
Capacity 300

English rock institution Thunder's popularity at the moment is at, if not an all-time high, then the highest it's been for two decades, and all of their current activity is being flooded with interest.

Whether that is coming from music publications who weren't interested during the quieter times but suddenly care now that there's a potential readership to be had, the legions of faithful fans who have waited patiently while the band have teased with sporadic appearances but shied away from properly reuniting, or the new fans won at major rock festivals or support slots with arena acts like Whitesnake, Journey, and Mott The Hoople, they can currently do no wrong. So when they announced a one-off in-store acoustic appearance and signing in London, the free tickets were snapped up in a matter of minutes, prompting the booking of several more signing sessions and acoustic performances around the UK and Germany, all of which have been met with similar enthusiasm.

This first one took place in the ill-suited room upstairs at the Oxford Street branch of what's left of HMV which they've dubbed "Live @ 363" (the official address of the store being 363 Oxford Street). Wide and shallow, with the stage in the wrong place - stuck in one corner - half of the room is basically useless as there's next to no viewing angle, meaning the 300-strong crowd had to squash into one end of the low-ceilinged space, with many barely able to see more than the heads of the seated band members.

Nevertheless, as is so often the case, Thunder delivered, playing a 30-minute set with all their usual humour and banter, sandwiching three new songs from Wonder Days, their first album in seven years, amongst four established classics. The songs chosen from Wonder Days were fairly obvious, but appropriately showcased the new material and proved that it is of similar quality to the older songs (and actually, that an acoustic tour of full-length shows would probably be a well-received idea, given how well they are able to convert almost all of their songs to acoustic arrangements, and the reception from just this small crowd of fans).

For many fans in attendance it was also the first opportunity to see guitarist Ben Matthews since his diagnosis with throat cancer in July last year and subsequent all-clear in November, and those staying for the band's signing session afterwards couldn't wait to wish him all the best. Thunder make their fans feel quite close to the band compared to most other artists, and in turn their fans take every opportunity to show their support to both the band, and its members.

The next time Thunder come around will be their first ever arena shows in March, which are highly anticipated, and acoustic sessions like this, on the back of an album which has since entered the Official UK Album Charts (the full ones, not just the rock ones) at an outstanding number nine, will have done nothing to quell that excitement.

“ appropriately showcased the new material ”

Setlist: Backstreet Symphony / Black Water / Broken / River of Pain / Resurrection Day / Low Life In High Places / Stand Up

Written by Andy Lye
More: Hard/Heavy Rock, Promo Sets,

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