“It was fantastic to see Jon Lord performing a show under his own name at long last. This is not an event that takes place everyday and Jon is a Definite Maestro for your reviewer. No one else but him made me fell in love with Deep Purple some 14 years ago and he has strenghtened my love for Hammond organ and keyboards ever since.”
Martin Karski reviews Jon Lord’s concert in Plock, Poland on July 6.
By Martin Karski
What it was really – a life’s dream coming true. We were granted for the effort of quick coming into the event’s place – we saw the general rehearsal. Most of the evening material was tried, the listeners could catch a glimpse of what was to happen.
Masterful sound, a brillant form of Mr. Lord – looking happy, healthy and in friendly spirit towards his followers. As the rehearsal came to the end we managed to get Jon to the edge of the stage, where he signed plenty of releases he took part in over the four decades. He also agreed to get to the back of the stage for a short photo session with the fan friends.
Holding his ‘magic fingers’ hand and sharing a big smile to the camera with Jon will be one of the happiest moments yours truly has ever took part in. While the Hero headed for a meal and some rest while after, we secured the front row places to see directly what was to happen on stage.
It was great to see many of the old Purple Convention friends around, who made it easier to stand the eagerness rising for the event to start as the clock ticked slowly. At 7 pm the Organiser took the stage to introduce the event. As the impatience of the audience went heavily tested with introduction’s length, but it all resulted with a thunderous welcoming of the Lord’s ensemble.
The rock section band consisted of young session musicans and was topped with two fabulous voices of Kasha (Catherine) Laska and Yatzek (Jack) Kotlarski who took the vocal duties in Jon’s material. The orchestra was conducted by Misha Damev, a Swiss director who worked lately with Jon on his symphonic projects.
It was lovely to hear the ‘Concerto For Group And Orchestra’ for the second time in the country, this time in complete shape. What I can say: you’d tell that Deep Purple plays this piece with a far more confident feel and swing. While the pressure was breaking youngs bones in the first minutes, they have managed to handle this difficult material well and they were applauded for the effort. Bar the drummer sadly, who’s thick cut bashing was out of place and the drum solos were dreadful.
The overall feeling remained strongly positive anyway. Jon had a massive input into conducting the youngs with the ‘body language’, while Damev and orchestra thundered through like a dream. Jon’s Hammond solos in each Movement that were beatifully controlled and sharp driven as well, what a treat.
That definitely was the hardest part of the show to come through for all of the performers. As the evening continued the atmosphere loosened a bit although most of the material from ‘Pictured Within’ and ‘Beyond The Notes’ was still demanded a dose of concentration from the audience. The balance of the reflective mood and the listenability was well kept however.
Kudos have to go to the young vocalists who did an adorable job – Kasia shone in ‘One From The Meadow’ and ‘Wait A While’. She had an audible freedom in phrasing while using as lovely scale as Sam used to do. And Jacek did a much more melodic voicing in ‘Pictured Within’ than Miller Anderson did, but his vocal line integrated with the sonic picture beatifully.
It looked like it was the material from Jon’s piece de resistance, 1976’s ‘Sarabande’, that was the most enjoyable for the audience. “Pavane” has gained an enormous dose of feeling thanks to slight rearranging. The quiet drum tinks with unusual tempo accents gave it a rhythmic change to a slow jazz feel. Alltogether it sounded like a new composition – utterly charming.
I personally have enjoyed “Gigue” the most – absolutely storming version with the fabulous guitar and organ parts and the ferrocious orchestral backing. The drum extravaganza was close to destroy the monumento completely, but the finale did save the day for this classic.
“Sarabande” and “Bouree” are the classics to themselves – the only pity for these two is the exclusion of the improvised solo parts in each of the two. The latter worked well as a thunderous gig finale – it fell like a voodoo spirit on Misha Damev, who at the end was flowing with his conductor’s body over the orchestra. Amazingly intense and moving sight. Most of the audience were on their feet in that moment, roaringly applauding the evening’s heroes.
The show was not over yet. Now take a time to imagine that some space capsule takes you back to 1970. What can a Purple fan dream of then? First three notes on the Hammond blasted everybody’s mind and next ten minutes were absolutely unreal. It will remain a mystery to me how has Jon made that – it must be his majestic magic. It was not ‘Child In Time’ done by Mr. Lord plus session men and the orchestra. They all came perfectly united in the piece, making the result maybe the most powerful rendition of this anthem in at least past 25 years.
The combo of female-male unison voices handled Gillan’s part flawlessly. The young guitarist caught a flaring fire in his fingers. His solo was a nuke, blitzing with Blackmore – Satriani feel. All this contoured by a monsterous Hammond sound with Jon blistering fingerwork, and a wide smile on his face every second. The crowd’s hearts were conquered and the farewell with Maestro was long and emotional. I did what I could to describe this, but honestly speaking this isn’t expressible at all. A hypersensual, mind-smashing experience.
You kept your promise Jon, some of us were crying happy tears after the concert finale and I thank you for that gift from the bottom of the fan heart and soul. It will take up to a day after the life BEFORE I FORGET this day and its wonders.