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Goosebumps in Siegen

October 27, 2009

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‘The true highlight of the first part of the evening was – as always – the second movement. Those moments of musical understanding between band and orchestra, the quiet and almost playful transition to the first verse of the vocals, all of it moved me to tears, and I am not ashamed to say so. And what a wonderful addition the third verse is! This short piece brings in my humble opinion the movement to perfection.’

Monika Schwarz reviews Jon Lord’s concertbin Siegen, Germany on October 23. She continues:

‘After 6 hours of sitting in a car, we felt a certain need for some workout, so we decided to have a walk to the venue. We were lucky enough to meet Bernd Martin, the singer of Demon’s Eye, and Andreas König, the keyboard player of the band.

Funny how both of them seemed quite surprised about my asking for an autograph. After all, without them there would have been a certain emptiness on stage later on, and probably the ‘Concerto’ might have missed something too ;-).

Then the evening came, we entered the venue, found our seats (2nd row, straight in front of Jon’s Hammond) and enjoyed the feeling of anticipation before a show. When the lights went out, first the orchestra, then the band and last of all Jon Lord entered the stage, all of them with a big applause.

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Jon did – as mostly – the announcements, in his usual charming and humorous way as only he can do. He told us a few words about his ‘baby’, the ‘Concerto for Group and Orchestra’, which we were going to witness during the first part of the concert.

And then the first notes… It seemed that the orchestra was playing the first movement a little slower than the other performances I was hearing so far, which was quite a good thing, as it gave more time for indulging.

Their playing was in general very precise and with much care – I got the impression that they really were enthusiastic about this evening. Same with the conductor, who had everything under control – even the band, at least as long as they were playing with the orchestra.

After an intermission of 30 minutes, the concert continued with ‘Pictures Of Home’, again announced as a song about a hangover (one day I must learn the story behind that…), followed by ‘The Sun Will Shine Again’, sung by the lovely and very talented Kasia Laska. Then it was time again for a livelier piece, the ‘Bourrée’ from the album ‘Sarabande’.

The introduction to the next song, ‘Pictured Within’ was also very moving, as Jon Lord told the audience that he had almost lost his ‘mojo’ as a composer, but had found it again with the making of the album of the same name. But not much time for sentimentality, ‘The Telemann Experiment’ raised spirits again, and I am absolutely sure that Georg Philipp Telemann was smiling again somewhere in Heaven.

‘Wait A While’ is for me the showcase for Kasia Laska, where she demonstrates how movingly this song can be interpreted.

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‘Gigue’, again from the ‘Sarabande’ album, closed the regular setlist of this night. Standing ovations – almost a regular feature at Jon Lord’s concerts, and most deserved too – accompanied the protagonists on their way down from the stage.

It didn’t take long and they all came back for the encores, and to my great pleasure the first of them was ‘Soldier Of Fortune’, a song I don’t think that I have heard live ever before.

And then the ‘grande finale’ – ‘Child In Time’! Again it was goosebumps time, as the band sounded so close to the original, and Jon Lord was obviously enjoying himself, same as orchestra and audience. The two singers, Kasia Laska and Bernd Martin were sharing vocal duties.

Mentioning the band – they were the real surprise for me that night. I mean, of course I had heard about them a couple of times, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to experience. The singer was excellent, same as the bass player.

Naturally we didn’t hear too much from the keyboard player, but the drummer was truly outstanding, and even more so the guitar player. Demon’s Eye are making a point of getting their sound as similar to Deep Purple in the seventies as possible, which means even using the same equipment.

But Mark Zyk, the guitar player, didn’t only use the equipment, he sounded almost scaringly like Ritchie Blackmore, even imitating his stage antics. His solo during ‘Child In Time’ could have been taken straight from an original record.

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Which brings me back to Jon Lord. His playing was brilliant, moving, inspired (and inspiring, notwithstanding the fact that I don’t play any instrument). He manages somehow to always play the solos differently, he demonstrates his love for music with every touch of the keys, whether the Hammond or the piano. All of this is still only one facet of the whole.

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In my books we are having the great luck to witness one of the most brilliant composers of our time at work, a true genius and a lovely man. Long may this pleasure last!

Monika Schwarz

Photos by Ralph Pondman.

Setlist:
Concerto For Group and Orchestra – Movement I
Concerto For Group and Orchestra – Movement II
Concerto For Group and Orchestra – Movement III

Intermission

Pictures of Home
The Sun Will Shine Again
Bourée
Pictured Within
The Teleman Experiment
Wait A While
Gigue

Encores
Soldier Of Fortune
Child In Time

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8 comments

  1. My wife, my best friend from the olden days and two mates from university were in Siegen on Friday night, Oh My God! Jon Lord entered the stage and my body was swept over by sheer emotions.
    The set list was perfect, a match made in heaven which besides the anticipated Concerto gave us Pictured Within, The Sun Will Shine Again, Wait A While and two more crownings (later on), which in my mind, can’t be topped.
    A crystal clear sound came from the P.A. and the musicians played above themselves – both band and orchestra.
    If somebody had to be picked out it would have been miss Laska, who sang tearjerkingly, and Andrée Schneider on the drrrrrrrumssss, mr. Aviator.de himself (not to mention the guitar player, who seemed to know every trick from another certain guitar player by heart).
    Above them all was Jon Lord himself. During most of the concert he stood behind his organ, like a captain mastering a steamboat’s wheel on high water, or without him it might have been Hell. His playing was ace, his intros were jokingly and he revealed his true age to be thirty-seven, while mentioning Mr. Coverdale’s lyrics for Soldier of Fortune, the Snakester being 23-24 having written these words about his feelings ‘of growing older’, the Lord said, to appreciate these lyrics now more than then.
    And his solos… They give me back this immense joy that I seem to miss while watching that other ‘little band’, and I can’t wipe off that stupid smile from my face being…seven now! Only that other guitarist can do it, sometimes once at a show, what the Lord did that whole evening.
    And then came Child In Time.
    Thank you Jon, it was a delight !
    Hartmut


  2. There are so many things I could say about that concert… But I want to make it short. I came all the way from East Germany to attend the concert with my wife and my father-in-law. It was so amazin (by the way, I was the one screaming when Jon was announcing Pichtured Within)… I really hope, Jon, Demon’s Eye and the Orchestra did enjoy it just as much as we did – meaning the whole audience… And I really do hope, Jon is returning to play for his Siegen audience again one day soon.
    Oh, one more thing: the concerto has always been my favourite DP album. Thanks – it was the best concert I’ve ever seen – and I have seen a lot!


  3. Hello Jon,
    first my english is not so good but i try it.
    I´m 32 more the half that you are .
    My first LP was Deep Purple in Rock.At was the first time that I hear your Hammond Sound .And I want more more …. of this.
    The evening when i was siegen was so great.The Beatfull soung of orchster und ofcause the Hammond sound to .
    I want to Say thang´s for hear this .
    And I wich you all good
    A Fan
    Stefan Holschbach


  4. Great review. Couldn’t have written it better.
    I agree on every point.
    Was very impressed by the guitarist who definitely could have been Blackmore in disguise. Moves sound and everything as in the seventies.

    Demon’s Eye. What to say about those guys. They are just excellent and as Monika sais they try to get the sound as close to the 70’s as possible. TRYING ? No this is not trying this IS the sound from the 70’s. Really amazing. Now I regret the fact that I didn’t went to see Ian Paice with Demon’s Eye when they were in Holland in 2008. Shit.
    The guitarist is a excellent skilled player as is the drummer. Both delivered a great show.
    The singer is a great singer but imo not the appropriate one for Pictured within and Soldier of fortune. Don’t get me wrong he did a great job but just missed that thing needed to make it excellent

    Another thing that impressed me highly was Jon. The way he still moves behind the organ is astonishing for a man his age. He is still giving everything he’s got. Amazing. He’s the man behind the organ and shows that without a doubt. The pieces behind the grand piano are more comfortable but even there he can’t resist to make some sudden moves and he did that with great devotion. He gave us what you can expect from him and more
    Jon please don’t stop rockin’ behind the organ. Can’t wait for your new records

    Great evening with great music and great company. So what more can one wish.

    So when you get the chance to see Jon then do it. You certainly won’t be dissapointed

    Cheers

    Ralph Pondman


  5. Hi There, I came all the way from Amsterdam. I have not seen the concerto with Jon as a solo artist but with Purple in 1999 and 2001! The impression in Siegen last friday was great and ended in a superb evening!! Must have been a great experience for Demon’s eye and the orchestra ! The concerto is still a mayor growing piece of work and quiet ”young” and the more it get played the better it become! I have always been a Jon Lord fan and also the lucky fan who met him in the Hotel lobby for a photograph! An hour later I asked him to sign my poster! With a smile on his face and a ”you again” gave me a smile I will never forget!!
    Thanks for the great concert and keep on playing and writing in good health for many many years to come!! Cheers, Marcel van Weerdenburg


  6. The four-hour train journey from the Netherlands was well worth the effort! In May, as soon as I saw the opening of the ticket sale, I bought 2 tickets and the seats were optimal: row 12, which was the first row that was slightly higher, and just a bit off the central passage three seats in the direction of Jons altar. Our distance to the orchestra was comparable with the dimensions of the orchestra itself, allowing us to listen to a well blended mixture of the instruments. The shout from the crowd mentioned in an earlier reaction came from right behind me. Were you on row 13?

    Ever since I heard the Concerto for the first time, which was on dutch radio in 1982 (Wim van Puttens “LP-show”), I have been hoping to ever be part of such an event. I was never a big enthousiast of rocksongs again and again solely based on massive guitar powerplay. The symphonic elements in DP songs were “interesting”, but Jons classical pieces had a stronger attraction. In 2000 I was at the DP concert in Rotterdam. The Concerto was going to be performed! My hopes were high! Marco de Goey, who re-invented the masterscore of the Concerto, was presented on stage, but somehow the second movement was not played… I was disappointed then, but the acoustics of box-shaped concrete bunker “Ahoi” in Rotterdam were so bad that it would not have resulted in any pleasure whatsoever. Moreover, the P.A. was so loud to serve all the tens of thousands of people that the orchestra had to be strongly amplified, so strong that no individual instrument could be discriminated. The orchestra was separated from us by a glass wall! Was there more than 1 microphone for the whole orchestra then? The quote from stage “We’ll send you home deaf!!” was typical.

    Then, some years later I hear that Jon has shifted emphasis from DP and “rock” to “Concerto-Gemini Suite-Sarabande”-material. New material is even added to the pile of masterpieces! “The Lord has listened to my vows” (sorry for the cheap joke, Jon). As soon as I found out about the small size of the SiegerlandHalle (1500 seats?) I knew that quality had finally beaten quantity.

    In the SiegerlandHalle the orchestra was electronically amplified, just as in Rotterdam. On start this worried me a bit, but then I realized that this never bothers me when someone who starts to sing takes a microphone. Later it became clear that at louder parts the lion’s share of what I heard was coming directly from the orchestra itself and not from the speakers. Only some solo’s needed fortification. Talking about solo’s: I play the clarinet myself and thus had an extra interest in the cadanza in the first movement answering the guitar solo. From my seat I could well see the lady who had the honour of throwing it out of her clarinet. And what a delight! How well deserved her glass of wine was that evening after the show!

    What always stroke me about the first part of the 2-nd movement is how it all fits together when all instruments come slightly behind the beat. The director apparently had the same opinion, because there was no single mistake in this show! To give additional credit: the lead player on flute managed to push the delay in notes to the edge, thus creating an optimal atmosphere. Well done! [To compare: listen to the hobo line in the 1999 performance: not after the beat but exactly on top of the beat. Halfways the hobo lines someone must have strangled that hobo player for spoiling the sequence of woodwind instruments and taken over, since then suddenly the hobo plays with a delay either]. Close to the end of the second movement the orchestra plays the darkest note of all. When my elder son was 2 years old, I used to play cd’s with him every monday when everyone else was at work. In our home, this particular note at the end of the second movement is called “The Note”. For sometime my son has been asking me who composed The Note. Now I can tell. The Note was good last friday!

    For the rest of the show I fully adhere to the review already given. My hands still ache from applauding! We had a beer or two at the after party and then went to sleep at the hotel. Saturday, on the way back to the railway station, I had a discussion with a man from the Salvation Army. He was wondering what had happened the evening before and he started to shine when he asked me if any material had been played from the Gemini Suite. Siegen is not yet finished with Jon Lord!

    For me Jon Lord is Englands version of the Giant Panda bear: there’s not so many of them, but it is so much nicer to wake up knowing that Jon will spin another orbit with us! Is there any chance that there will be new concerts coming up in places that are within reach from central Holland? Wouldn’t Marco de Goey deserve a concert like in Siegen in his home town (was it Gouda?)? Any chance that pieces of the Gemini Suite will be performed? I guess Kasia would have produced an interesting version of the female contribution to “Vocals”.

    I am sure that all Jons performances are recorded. What intrigues me is the question if any of this will emerge on cd or dvd. Until so far I have managed to collect 4 different full versions of the Concerto: the 1970 one, the 1999 one and two performances in Japan from “The Soundboard Series” (some sort of grey bootleg sold directly by DP without intervention of a record company). Without any problem I can collect hundreds of different versions of Bach’s Toccata and Fuga. I wouldn’t mind the release of a fifth registration of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra! Or the second version of Sarabande!

    Jon, thank you very much!
    Come again!

    Arjan

    ps. This was the first concert in years that I attended where I could leave my special concert-earplugs in the pocket!

    psps. Can someone change my XL Jon Lord T-shirt for a smaller size? Apparently at rockfestivals size XL means “has to fit a beer-belly”. Either I’ll have to indulge on the beer now or I’ll have to attend another Jon Lord performance…


  7. Hi Jon,

    I saw you performing the Concerto for serveral times, indeed with Deep Purple too. But the whole “Concerto for group and orchestra” in Siegen was the best version I ever heard. Your playing was very powerfull und delightful, the orchstra played very enthusistic, and the Band sound like Purple in the 70th!
    An amazing guitar solo from Mark Zyk in the first movement and in Child in time. It was good to see you with a “blackmorish” Guitar Player again.
    Kasia Laska was in good shape and sang a very fondly version of Fridas “The sun will shine again”.
    My family hope to see you again with this orchstra Südwestfalen (we could see that the conductor Russal Harris had a lot of fun)and the “bloody good” band “Demon`s Eye”.

    Good bless you Jon!


  8. Thank you very much for the review. What a great evening it was! This show will remain in my heart forever. I saw Jons shows in Essen and Hagen in 2008 and 2009. Without any doubt good shows, as well. But Siegen was something special for me. Jon played better than ever. The sound was amazing. The orchestra was perfect! And the band was just fantastic. They really rocked the place.
    A wonderful mixture of classical pieces and rocking pieces.
    A very big thank you to everyone who was involved!

    Torsten



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