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Album review

Wilko Johnson 

Wilko Johnson Live at Koko

added: 16 Jan 2014 // release date: 1 Jan 2014 // label: Cadiz
reviewer: Andy Snipper

Wilko Johnson - Wilko Johnson Live at Koko - Printable version
Without question this was THE gig to be at in 2013. Canvey Island’s favourite son was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive and untreatable form of pancreatic cancer in 2012 and in his inimitable manner he refused chemotherapy and decided to go out still enjoying life and giving it large for his fans. The response from his fans was equally fierce and the event took on the atmosphere of a mutual love fest.

So, this is the DVD of that event and it definitely brought back memories of a magical night in Camden Town.

Wilko (no point in calling him ‘ex-Feelgood because he was the driving heart of the band) has always has a signature sound, combining rhythm and lead in a machine gun attack with his Telecaster and while he is definitely less edgy and the adrenaline charges from back of stage to front and all over are infrequent, the look of those manic and fiery eyes under that beetling brow is still there and the crowd takes one look and screams its belief in their hero.

Make no mistake, Wilko could have walked onstage, played ten minutes of folk music and been called back for encores. He didn’t. He played a full set of Feelgoods classics and his own material as well as some classic Rock n Roll and played for over two hours. The crowd, to a man a pastiche of ‘Essex Man’, were roaring him on and, flanked with Norman Watt-Roy on bass and Dylan Howe on drums he roared back. The sight of Wilko tearing across the stage and back again sending the crowd into a frenzy says it all.

Every number was a standout but there were great versions of ‘Roxette’ and ‘Back In The Night’ as well as ‘Dr Dupree’ and an emotional and uplifting ‘Johnny B Goode’ as an encore but the absolute top banana must go to his ‘Barbed Wire Blues’ which just rocks, hard.

1500 souls packed Koko that night not knowing if they were seeing a wreck off or celebrating a musical life that had been with them all their lives. In the end they saw one of their own, one of the greats, playing his heart out and leaving them with one of the best memories a fan can have.


Set List
1. Everybody's Carrying A Gun
2. Barbed Wire Blues
3. Dr. Dupree
4. Going Back Home
5. Roxette
6. Sneakin' Suspicion
7. Keep On Loving You
8. When I'm Gone
9. Paradise
10. Don't Let Your Daddy Know
11. Back In The Night
12. She Does It Right
13. I Don't Mind (feat Alison Moyet)
14. All Through The City (feat Alison Moyet)
15. Johnny B Goode
16. Twenty Yards Behind


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5 stars

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