Ian Prowse & Amsterdam kicked off the second leg of their “Who Loves Ya Baby” tour with a brilliant night at Telford's Warehouse, where the packed house was treated to a high-energy show, that featured songs from all the 20-year plus career of Ian Prowse – from the early Celtic-tinged pop of Pele, through the Amsterdam back-catalogue and of course, new songs from this year's release, the afore-mentioned “Who Loves Ya Baby”. . . which Ian was quick to point out is a band album, not a solo release!
The Ellesmere Port-raised, Liverpool-based Prowse is a great writer and frontman, leading on this occasion a 7-piece Amsterdam, which apart from himself on vocals and guitar, featured Johnny Barlow (guitar), Mike Neary (keyboards), Laura McKinley (violin), Fiona McConnell (flute and whistle), Dave Mastrocola (bass) and debutant Guy Davies (drum) . . . and also, not forgetting the legendary Mikey . . . the band's very own Bez!
The most entertaining set started with the superb “God And Man” off the new album, with a good sprinkling of classic Pele thrown in, with a rousing “Fireworks” from all the way back in 1992, featuring the girls in the band – Laura McKinley and Fiona McConnell; another early highlight was the title track of the Amsterdam “Arm In Arm” release, and also from that, the gorgeous “Home” . . . probably my favourite Ian Prowse song.
It was back to “Who Loves Ya Baby” for the moving and poignant “Lest We Forget”, written by Alun Rhys Jones, about the young men who went off to the First World War, many never to return; the very funky “I Did It For Love” had the full band firing on all cylinders, with Mikey taking to the Telford's Warehouse floor for more room to throw his 'shapes'! Ian is also a natural raconteur and told of going for a walk before the gig and seeing the spot in Eastgate Streetwhere he used to busk for years outside Browns of Chester, now Debenhams, which led to the excellent “Name And Number”.
Every song was a gem really, but other highlights included a debut live performance for “The Emigrant”; an absolutely storming “Joe's Kiss”, written about one of Ian's heroes, Joe Strummer . . . and a further 'doff of the cap' saw a blistering “London's Calling” performed. The set ended with the modern classic and possibly the best known Ian Prowse song, the moving “Does This Train Stop On Merseyside”, with the audience helping out with the words!
A much deserved encore saw the band just stay on stage and perform the lovely “Maybe There Is A God After All” , written about Ian's daughter, Rosalita . . . it's a Celtic stormer and was a fitting end to a most memorable evening. Even with some personnel changes, the band were all on top form. If you get the chance to go and see Ian Prowse & Amsterdam take it . . . you're sure to head home with a large smile on your face!