Black Stone Cherry — Live From The Royal Albert Hall…Y’All (Mascot)

Rushonrock’s first taste of the ‘Cherry was way back in 2008.

Opening up for classic rock behemoths Def Leppard and Whitesnake wasn’t a bad way to spread the Southern rock word.

In fact, following a limited run of UK club shows the previous year, this was the perfect moment for Chris Robertson and co. to underline their obvious potential.

And Black Stone Cherry nailed it. Of course they fucking did.

Six months later the endearing quartet returned to headline a run of Academy shows and the seeds for long-term success were well and truly sown.

Around that time, drummer John Fred Young, stuck in a toilet somewhere in Newcastle, told Rushonrock: “We’re just normal guys who love music like the next man.”

Fast forward 13 years and four normal guys who love music somehow found themselves centre stage at the Royal Albert Hall.

These days the back catalogue might be bulging.

The trips across the Pond have become too frequent to mention.

And Black Stone Cherry are firmly established as the UK’s favourite Kentucky export since Jacky D.

But they’re still the same normal guys who love music.

And that normality, authenticity, approachability — call it what you want — is still at the core of one of the closest-knit bands on the planet.

Royal Albert Hall Pops Its Cherry

Black Stone Cherry might have headlined the Royal Albert Hall.

But this spine-tingling show could have been staged at the local church hall…such was the sense of familiarity, family and faith.

Very much in the vein of 2016’s hugely successful An Evening With… shows, intimacy was juxtaposed with ambition within one of London’s most iconic venues.

Black Stone Cherry have always had a happy knack for bonding with their audience, whether treading the boards in a tiny club or delivering the set of the weekend at Download.

And the charismatic Robertson recreated that special connection from the start.

One of rock’s most likeable frontmen is vivacious and vulnerable in equal measure.

Rarely able to mask his emotions or hide his fears, Robertson wears his heart on his sleeve as he strives for success.

And the pride at reaching this historic career peak was there for all to see on another rollercoaster night for the wide-eyed singer.

There were times when Robertson looked like he’d get lost in the moment.

Caught up in the occasion.

Stifled by the sheer magnitude of this 20th anniversary shindig.

But Robbo held it together. Held his nerve. And held a rapt crowd in the palm of his hand.

Me And Mary Jane And A Sold-Out Royal Albert Crowd

Released as an audio-visual treat, Live From The Royal Albert Hall…Y’All looks and sounds the business.

Benefitting from an intuitive mix and beautifully understated stage show, this was Black Stone Cherry at their unbridled best.

Kicking off with monster singalong anthem Me And Mary Jane, Robertson and co. raced through a career-spanning set without ever rushing those vital, memory-making moments.

Not for the first time, Soul Creek and Things My Father Said demonstrated the softer, subtler side of a band more than capable of tugging at the heartsrings.

But Young’s typically bombastic drum solo and Ben Wells’ frenzied fretwork confirmed the Edmonton crew remain equally effective as a full-throttle hard rock machine.

In two decades Black Stone Cherry have amassed a powerful body of work the envy of their peers.

And settling on the ‘perfect’ setlist must have been one of the toughest aspects of this Royal Albert Hall debut.

The jury is out on whether the right balance was struck.

But few could argue with the five-song finale that underpinned the band’s burgeoning reputation.

Blind Man and set closer Peace Is Free bookended live favourites Blame It On The Boom Boom, White Trash Millionaire and the titanic Lonely Train.

And suddenly the most significant gig in Black Stone Cherry’s career was a wrap.

Live At The Royal Albert Hall…Y’all: y’all conquering, y’all encompassing, y’all over. For now.