God moves in mysterious ways. After a week from Hell, I almost didn't go to this gig. I just didn't have the heart to enjoy myself. But the Big Man knew best and I made the decision to go. And so it proved to be the perfect remedy to the sadness that has gripped me all week. The sadness will return, I know. But for a couple of hours I was transported to a place where all of your worries fade away and are replaced by huge smiles, laughter and a general sense of well-being. That is the healing power of Music. It's magical essence that has the ability to transport you and make you feel alive and positive.
Not The Rolling Stones came to the Acapela Studios with the reputation of being THE best Rolling Stones tribute acts in the UK. And they certainly lived up to their billing tonight.
With Mike Jagger they have a front man who is SO like his namesake it is frightening at times. He, and 'Keith' have certainly done their homework and have the individual mannerisms of The Glimmer Twins down to a T.
The big question on the night was what songs they would pull out of the impressive canon of songs that belong to The Rolling Stones.
And you know you're onto a winner when your first song of the evening has the crowd on their feet immediately and singing along from note one. As the first chord crashed from 'Keith's Telecaster we knew we were in for a great evening. And the first song? Well, here we go.
Jumpin' Jack Flash
The Acapela was Sold-Out, it was bouncing from song one and it was like an oven in there. It must have been very much like those early Stones gigs but the band tonight had over 50 years of songs to chose from.
The next song lifted the roof even higher as the band launched into another uptempo toe tapper guaranteed to get the audience dancing.
Let's Spend The Night Together
By this second song, the band might just have well been The Rolling Stones and I don't think the real band would have got any more applause or praise than these guys got tonight.
The next two songs took us right back to the band's roots with The Last Time and Not Fade Away.
After such a frenetic opening the gig had to drop a couple of gears just to let the audience catch it's breath. With spookily authentic versions of Beast Of Burden, Wild Horses and a nice surprise in the form of the lesser played Dead Flowers from the Sticky Fingers album. The Stones wee always suckers for a good old Country song.
The show tonight was once again a game of two halves and with everybody ready for some more dancing and singing there came a trio of killer Stones classics to take us to the end of part one.
Street Fighting Man
The dancing continued, both downstairs and upstairs when the disco-era Miss You made an appearance. Below is a video of tonight's performance.
And Part One ended with a classic, which also happens to be one of my favourite Stones songs. And they played a killer version of it and left the stage for a break and let everyone have a much needed drink and cool down as the Acapela was now like an oven.
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Sometimes, you just want to go out to a gig and have a good time, if you know what I mean. Throw away those inhibitions and shake your body and singalong. And tonight certainly delivered in that respect with the whole building entering into the spirit of what was going down in the Chapel.
And Part Two was even more uptempo than Part One.
Part Two opened with an absolute Stones classic in the form of the exquisite Sympathy For The Devil.
Determined to keep up this high-octane momentum, the following two tracks are pulled directly from the Stones Greatest Hits package with It's Only Rock n Roll and Tumbling Dice - both tremendous songs and worthy of a place in tonight's set list.
There are quite a few of my favourite Stones songs that were unlikely to get a play tonight such as Sad, Sad, Sad, I Can Almost Hear You Sigh, She's A Rainbow and Undercover Of The Night but they did manage to slip in one mostly unheard song with the lovely Waiting On A Friend from Tattoo You.
Waiting On A Friend
Next up for me was the highlight of the evening with a fantastic version of Gimme Shelter in which the female keyboard player stepped out from behind the keys and gave Mick as good as he gave in the vocal department. It really was a tour-de-force.
The Stones used to open their shows with Start Me Up for many years and now relegated to a mid set scenario it has lost none of it's power or urgency. A real call to arms for the fans to see them through until the end of the show. The venue now as a Rocking and a Rolling in all of the right places as even more took to the floor in front of the stage and danced the set away.
With only two songs to go it was finally Honky Tonk Women that tipped the audience over the edge as a lady, whose birthday was tonight, decided it would a fantastic idea if she got up on stage and helped out the guys vocally. And with all the graciousness and patience they could muster, the band played along with the prank and let her have her time in the sun.
And how did they follow that? With the last song of the set in the form of an electric Paint It Black.
It was then encore time and the band had two songs with which to finish a triumphant evening. First up we had this beast of a track.
The honour of final song of the evening went to another cold Stones classic - Brown Sugar - by which time the audience had sung their hearts out, danced the night away and had probably the best night of live music they'd experienced in quite some time.
Tonight was one of the best nights I've ever had at Acapela. And it came at just the right time for me. A gift from God. And those 6 people up on that stage who gave everything they had tonight. I think they might have been surprised at how well they were received. The Acapela is probably not their normal type of venue. It just goes to show that no matter what type of venue bands play at - although the Acapela happens to be quite brilliant - it's the relationship between band and audience that matters. And tonight at The Chapel they were both literally singing from the same hymn sheet. If they come back. I'm there!!
Twitter - @NottheRStones
all photos copyright Nick Baker