Pesonally, I've never seen the attraction of the "tribute act", not to slight those who do, but it has always seemed that if you were not there at the time then you have to accept that you've missed it. Even the most accurate looking, spot on performing act is never going to be able to create that frisson of excitement that the original act would have generated.
So why on earth then are #TEAMw21 at the 100 Club for the first of 2 sold out nights where the stage is about to be graced by Clearwater Creedence Revival? In truth the sees were sown a month or so ago when Joe Martin said he had a sideline performing James Taylor songs and a pretty spot on version of "Fire and Rain" on the night at the Sound Lounge was enough to entice us out onto London's surprisingly still empty West End streets
The audience for such an event was surprisingly mixed, a large number who may well have seen the real band in their heyday, were joined by a number of much younger folk. Obviously many had not been to the 100 Club before, as their arrivals were to follow a familiar pattern of heading to the bar, and then starting a circuit being seduced by the pictures on the wall of previous luminaries to have played at the prestigious venue. A strong 60's playlist set the tone for the evening and even when the venue was only half full the temperature had already skyrocketed and the feeling of a hot sweaty club was easily achieved.
Joe Martin's job then was to warm up an already sweltering crowd with some James Taylor songs, starting with "Sweet Baby James". It becomes immediately apparent that this is going to be very much Joe Martin sings James Taylor songs rather than a Stars In Your Eyes recreation, which is probably as well as their voices are some way apart. It is warmly received as is "Carolina In My Mind", with Joe evoking the dreamy feeling of the original. At this point there is a little diversion into Joe's own material, specifically his latest EP. and there is a chance to truly let rip with his vocals. Firstly we get "Doesn't Rain In LA", the chorus powering around the 100 Club like it truly belongs there. He follows it with "Forgotten Country Song" which certainly does not sound out of place in the company of JT songs, A final trip to the EP sees Joe sing "Take Me Home Tonight" sounding perfect with Joe throwing in some high vocals and closing the song shaking his guitar to extract every last sound.
It is back to James Taylor's output albeit for his take on the Carole King song "You've Got A Friend" and all of a sudden the 100 Club breaks out into a singalong, in a quite heart warming moment, It is a song that has personal meaning to many and it can't help but inspire that communal spirit.
As for Clearwater - well - we don't do tribute acts!!!