After 55 years The Pretty Things called it quits in December, 2018 with a final concert at The Indigo venue located within the cavernous O2 Arena in London. The group were joined by famous friends Van Morrison and Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour for their farewell.
The band achieved a moderate amount of fame with some charting singles in the mid 1960s and they created the first album considered a rock opera called SF Sorrow. They began in 1963 in London and took their name from Willie Dixon's 1955 song Pretty Thing. Phil May and ex-Rolling Stone Dick Taylor started the band as a pure rhythm and blues band but experimented with a wide variety of genres over the course of their history. There have been numerous personnel changes over the years as well.
The final show from Thursday, December 13, 2018 was divided into three sets. The first set was the present Pretty Things line-up and the set list was Honey I Need, Don't Bring Me Down, Buzz the Jerk, Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut, Get the Picture?, The Same Sun, Alexander, Defecting Grey, Big Boss Man, Midnight To Six Man and Mr Evasion.
In Set Two they were joined by Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour on guitar. This set also had previous members of the band to perform tracks from S.F. Sorrow. The set list was Scene One, S.F. Sorrow Is Born, She Says Good Morning, Baron Saturday, Trust, I See You, and Cries From the Midnight Circus.
Finally, during the third set they were joined by Van Morrison for three songs. Van's contribution with a top British R&B band from the 1960s gave fans some idea how of what Them must have been like. Morrison fronted the band for Baby, Please Don’t Go, Bo Diddley’s I Can Tell and You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover. Gilmour then returned for the final two songs of the set, sitting in on L.S.D. and Old Man Going. The set list for Set Three was I Can't Be Satisfied, Come On in My Kitchen, Baby, Please Don't Go, I Can Tell, You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover, Come See Me, Mona, Pretty Thing, Who Do You Love, L.S.D. There was also a three song encore - Rosalyn, Road Runner and Loneliest Person.
By all accounts it was a really great concert with a huge number of participants taking the stage. The performers enjoyed themselves but the reason for the finish of The Pretty Things was pretty obviously heath. 72-year-old Phil May suffers from emphysema and their brilliant lead guitarist Dick Taylor looked rather fragile at 75 years of age.
Stand out songs included early hits Rosalyn and Don't Bring me Down, a selection of songs from their concept album SF Sorrow including Trust and a homage to R&B icon Bo Diddley, which featured Mona, Pretty Thing, You Can't Judge A Book and Roadrunner.