If you'd told me five years ago that in 2006 I'd be seeing Hanoi Rocks and the New York Dolls live on stage, I'd have laughed in your face and accused you of sniffing too much hairspray. But just five months after witnessing my adored Finnish glamsters in the flesh, the legendary godfathers of glam themselves (or what's left of them, at any rate) are rolling into town.
And in tow they have my new favourite bunch of skinny arsed, bleach blonde rock'n'roll pranksters, Towers of London. Hallelujah! Finally I get to see a full set – a short but saucy slice of down'n'dirty glam punk energy, with essence of Ramone flowing deep through its battered veins. With their names liberally sprinkled about the gossip columns and their own reality TV show on Bravo, could these boys be the band to drag nu glam kickin' and screamin' into the mainstream? Possibly. Their look and sound are nothing new, but if they're handing out points for cocksure, swaggering, full metal posturing and pure attitude, then the Towers can go straight to the top of the class.
But move over nu school, because here comes the old school to boot your bony denim clad butts. The New York Dolls (along with Alice) are the band who kicked it all off in the first place and now, and now, 29 years after they imploded in a blaze of drug addled, ignominious glory, they're back – or the two members who are still alive, anyway – cute, cuddly rhythm guitarist Sylvain Sylvain (who now looks like Nigel from EastEnders in Angus Young's clothes) and the legendary snake hipped rock'n'roll demigod that is David Johansen. 'That man has lips for miles. He could swallow the earth... and has.' Yes, Steven Tyler may have been talking about Mick Jagger, but he could just as easily have been referring to the Dolls' iconic frontman – after all, as Morrissey (of all people, the man responsible for the Dolls' comeback) contends, Mick Jagger stole everything he knew from David Johansen.
Yes, it's rare that you encounter pure, 24 carat star quality, but Johansen has it in bucketloads. Lithe, louche, limpwristed with the weight of his chains and rings and skinny as a snake in his lowslung black trews, he may be pushing 60 but he's still sex on a stick, oozing rock'n'roll attitude from every pore. Bow down in awe, my friends, for you are in the presence of a true living legend – and you don't become a living legend for nothing.
And you know what, he's loving it too. For these are no tired old rockers back on the road cuz there's bills to pay and child support to muster: the newly reformed Dolls are on the road because they love it. With Hanoi Rocks' Sam Yaffa on bass to complete the legendary line up (and allowing me finally to see every surviving member of the band live on stage), they're tight, loud, expert and they rock like fuck. Exploding onto the stage with 'Just Looking For A Kiss', the band proceed to intersperse obligatory classics such as 'Pills' and 'Trash' with tracks from the new album, One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This, which sound every bit as sharp. So there hasn't been much musical progression over the last 30 years, but do we care? I think not. And 'Dance Like A Monkey' kicks ass – it so needs to storm into the charts next week. Watch out My Chemical Romance, the Dolls are gonna getcha…
And then there's the tribute to the late great Johnny Thunders, a mournful mash of his signature tune, 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory' and 'Lonely Planet Boy'. Beautiful.
Tonight was a really special night, and I feel strangely proud to be a part of it. The New York Dolls are back, and the world is a better place for it. The New York Dolls will go on and on. Thank God for that.