You know the old adage about never meeting your heroes - well, blow that.

I was so close, I was almost on stage with Ian Hunter in Monmouth’s superb Blake Theatre for recently reunited Mott the Hoople’s first warm-up gig before they play at Hammersmith Apollo later this week (October 1-6).

There is only one word to describe the feeling a full 35 years after seeing the band at Hammersmith supported by Queen as a 14-year-old schoolboy - awesome.

You could sense the entire audience brace as they heard the words “Mott the Hoople are in the building”. There was a feeling of awe and then as the final bars of Holtz’s Jupiter faded Ian Hunter, with trademark curly hair and shades, led on the band.

There were gasps, cheers, yells - the place erupted.

With no introduction, it was straight into Hymn for the Dudes and 35 years just fell away.

All the boys were there - Mick Ralphs, lead guitar; Overend Watts, bass; Verden Allen, keyboards and The Pretenders’ Martin Chambers on drums in for Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin, who we were assured by Hunter will on stage at the London gigs.

Hunter and the band played for a full, energy-packed two hours including three encores and treated the crowd to classics including Sweet Jane, Sucker, a fantastic acoustic I wish I Was Your Mother and of course, All the Young Dudes.

The audience didn’t want to leave. Someone yelled out “Ian, it’s been emotional” and he wasn’t wrong.