Upon Hugh Laurie's entrance, he dropped to his knees and kissed the stage. A quip about letting the audience see he was more bald than expected soon followed, providing a suitable opening for a show where amusement was aplenty, but not at the expense of the music.
The idea of TV's Gregory House (or the foppish twit from Blackadder, depending on your generation) fronting a blues band may seem strange, but there's a genuine love of the music behind it, as evidenced by the array of anecdotes wheeled out before each number. Laurie, who had a decent voice and even better piano playing skills, has certainly selected his musicians with precision too.
The Copper Bottom Band delivered exemplary playing, and the gig's peaks tended to come when they were in full pomp, as on the closing segment of Walls of Jericho, a sprightly rendition of Yeh Yeh or vocalist Sista Jean's full-blooded version of John Henry. There were lesser moments, though, especially in the early stages, when standards were delivered in fine yet slightly clinical fashion. A mid-set break for a quick onstage whisky seemed to provide added pep, and while Laurie sarcastically, and unfairly, dismissed his playing abilities at various points, his skill as a raconteur is unquestioned.
His passion shone through on odd moments where he burst into dancing or eagerly applauded his bandmates, and that energy was carried over into the jolting jump blues of Swanee River and a free flowing Green Green Rocky Road. "I'm not sure I know what this is about," said Laurie before the rousing Tipitina rolled in, but in terms of providing passion and groove he understood very well indeed.