It’s been a staggering 43 years since the silver haired Doncaster boy-done-good played at Ronnie Scott’s, a fact that made even the steely eyed John McLaughlin pause for a moment, seemingly choked with emotion. For indeed it was something of a homecoming, a return to his humble beginnings, before he’d levitated off into the stratosphere of guitar-god-dom and a return to this most intimate and hallowed of stages. Thus if the packed audience had expected to blown away by a whirlwind of guitar fireworks on the opening odd-metered blues rock of ‘Raju’ it was perhaps reassuring that the odd slip of the finger and wobbly note was evidence of McLaughlin’s humanity, even he finding the intensity of the Ronnie Scott’s stage an imposing prospect for the opening few minutes. This was precisely the reason tonight’s gig had an extra frisson of excitement, to see one of the guitar world’s biggest beasts away from his natural habitat of roaming the savannah of the large concert hall stages, and in a far more personalised and up close environment.
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