On the 29th June 2022 Robert Jon And The Wreck pitched up in Brussels to record this, their first ever CD/DVD (as ever when the choice is to listen or to watch this review concerns itself with the former only).

It was part of their longest ever tour of Europe. Six weeks before, they’d been in the UK. I’d been at KK’S Steel Mill to spend my second evening with them since the lockdown ended. It was incendiary. The band, I announced in my review “belonged on the road” (I’ve since called them “the best band in the world right now”)

This show is more or less the same as I saw that night. It begins with “Devil Is Your Only Friend” but that’s only substantive. The real truth comes in “Do You Remember”. A song so good its life affirming. There’s a moment when Henry James Schneekluth’s solo kicks in and you realise that no band distils rock n roll better than this. Anywhere. You listen and you too are propelled back to the moment when you were “young and free and 17”, whether you were or not.

And yes, of course you can pick out the influences in it and the blues infused “Hey Hey Mama” (ill save you the bother it sounds like Allman Brothers jamming with the Black Crowes) but that supposes they’re unaware of this.

“Blame It On The Whiskey” is built around a glorious piano lick, and it’s followed by my favourite song of the last five years (and I’m sorry if you aren’t supposed to put this stuff in reviews, but it’s not like I hide my adoration for them). “Oh Miss Carolina” is that good too. It really is.

Over the course of their albums, EP’s and standalone singles, RJATW have quite the canon. “Tired Of Drinking Alone” boasts stunning slide and a country air, but like all of these, it’s got an extra something when it’s played live. The best always do.

Each member of the band gets their own solos, but they also extend a couple into wonderful, Gov’t Mule style jams, one of these, “Death Of Me” slows the pace and sounds world weary, but they can plan a show, can RJATW and “Don’t Let Me Go” (with its wonderful back up vocals) is a heap of Screeching guitars, and when they do the magnificent “Old Friend” they always make it sound like the angriest in the set. A heads up. They’re not over her, just saying.

They’ve got anthems these days. “Shine A Light On Me Brother” is one and it’s fire and Brimstone delivery is perfect. The gig ends (as mine had) with a wonderful jam on “Cold Night” and the band together, in this unison are unstoppable.

I’ve seen them this year too and they keep on getting better. I am lucky that I get to go to a lot of gigs. There’s not a band I’d rather see than the self-styled “weird little band from California”.  And one one hand, its easy to say there’s no trick to what they do – that they are simply gifted and they write brilliant songs. However, that’s not quite the whole story either. About six weeks after I’d seen RJATW this year I saw a big 80s metal band. The band weren’t hiding that they mimed, they’ve admitted using backing tapes. You can have your opinions on that, I’ve got mine.

For now though, in this context – and as this package reveals – there are still real rock n roll bands around, creating real rock n roll and to listen to this for an hour and a quarter is to listen to the masters. During the set Robert Jon Burrison says that with “Live At The Ancienne Belgique” they wanted to make the best sounding live album they ever had.

They’ve done that- but they’ve also shone a light, as it were, on what rock n roll could be, should be, but so seldom is. They are sensational.

Rating 9.5/10

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