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Review: Great impressions continue to linger

November 15, 2009

Siegener Zeitung Online reviews Jon Lord’s recent show in Siegen, Germany.

Jon Lord, Demon’s Eye and Philharmonie Südwestfalen celebrated by about 1.900 music fans.

Siegen2 Freudenberger

Now he has been there, the great old man of the rock organ. With his B3, the Hammond with ‘the beautiful legs’, as Jon Lord was joking during rehearsal the evening before his appearance in Siegen.

Concert goers sitting further back at the Siegerlandhalle were probably unable to convince themselves of the aesthetical qualities of those legs, but more of the glorious voice of the instrument.

The former keyboard player for Deep Purple had come to perform his Concerto for Group and Orchestra (we have reported extensively in advance), which had its world premiere 40 years ago in London. An event that found great public interest even supra-regional.

About 1900 music fans from all across the world bustled Friday night inside the packed hall, to experience live and in colour this (still nowadays) exciting meeting of rock band and symphony orchestra.

At Jon Lord’s side appeared two musical figureheads of our region; Deep Purple tribute band Demon’s Eye and the Philharmonie Südwestfalen, conducted by chief conductor Russel N. Harris. True, this triple convention alone was – at least for the local visitors – a thrilling matter. Would it work? The answer is given in one word: yes!

Siegen3 Freudenberger

For the Concerto, which constituted the first half of the concert, band and orchestra let themselves be heard at their best with each other and against each other (which is of course part of the concept). Playfully both ensembles came together in a lovely way, both performed its parts in a competent and skillful way.

The volume was agreeable, the mix was transparent, and the possibility of sophisticated perception was given for the most part. Not only did Jon Lord please with his fine solos (he was also a pleasant and humorous compére), in the cadenza of the first Andante for instance, he stressed less the virtuouso aspect than the tones and dynamics.

Guitar player Mark Zyk shone with strong acrobatics on the strings in the style of Ritche Blackmore and provided already here a small foretaste for the things that should come with the second and last encore, Child In Time.

Drummer Andree Schneider gained three times spontaneous applause for his brilliant solo in the third Movement of the Concerto, Vivace – Presto. Bernd Martin succeeded with his emotional vocal part in the slow middle part, partly complemented by Jon Lord’s own singer Kasia Laska to make a fine duet. Also, in the orchestra fingers flitted exceedingly: In the fast finale musicians were having their hands full. But, as we know: they are capable.

Bass player Maik Keller provided a solid foundation for the band, and after the intermission Demon’s Eye’s keyboard player Andreas König acted as second man on the keys during three pieces, the well-known Bourrée and Gigue from Lord’s 1976 solo album Sarabande plus The Telemann Experiment from Beyond The Notes (2004).

These slightly opulent pieces were contrasted by gorgeous ballads, The Sun Will Shine Again and Wait A While, showcases for Kasia Laska’s clear and delicate soprano, plus the, according to Lord, ‘autobiographic in music and words’ Pictured Within from the album of the same title (1988), which was crowned not only by a fine solo-cello, but also by Bernd Martin’s felicitous interpretation that was geared to original singer, Miller Anderson.

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As logical as the orchestral involvement in all of this seemed, as impressive was the by no means granted organical blending of the philharmonic orchestra with the Deep Purple tracks.

That worked well too! Pictures Of Home really let go, Soldier Of Fortune touched, and Child In Time did both. For the latter of course, the Hammond organ was obligatory, to which Lord had turned his back for a long time during the second part of the concert in favour of the piano. Lots of cheering from the fans, which the 68 year old Englishman accepted in a visibly moved and grateful way.

Now they have been here, Jon Lord and the Hammond. What remains of them are great impressions that continue to linger…

(c) Siegener Zeitung Online.

Photos (c) G.W. Freudenberg – see more.

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