Serious fun in Essen

A resounding and unwavering standing ovation concluded Jon Lord’s Essen feast of musical moods.

With a set based on the Sarabande suite in the first half, and a selection of solo and Purple tunes in the second half, Lord brought the German Ruhrgebiet crowd roaringly to their feet.

Working very hard with local band DCRS, Jon Lord and the enthusiastic Hagener Philharmonics gathered their energies to deliver a rich evening of musical variation and fascination, which hit all the right spots with the local crowd.

This was only the third time, Sarabande had been performed in its entirety. Budapest came first and then Sofia, and the piece is already settling into its new, revisited arrangement. It was recorded a mere few miles from Essen – in the stadthalle of smalltown Oer-Erkenschwick – and has stood the test of time as possibly Jon Lord’s most successful and most accomplished amalgamation of modern and classical instruments.

Long standing concert favourites Gigue and Bourée never fail to excite, and of the previously unperformed pieces, Pavane is gloriously smooth and Aria tender and rhythmically fascinating. Of course, the Finale again provided an exciting musical challenge to everyone on and off stage. Clearly one of Jon Lord’s most imaginative pieces.

Tanja Schun sang female vocals for the concert. Classically trained, her approach is stout and well-defined. She has immense power, yet simply stands there seemingly unaffected by her own skills.

Doogie White had once again been invited to provide male vocals. This was only his third time appearing with Jon Lord (after Plovdiv and Luxembourg), but his entire appearance had an air of comfortable excellence feeling right at home.

In black leather pants and puffy musketeer shirt, Doogie alternated between chest beating and spine tingling performances of Pictures of Home, Lazy, Perfect Strangers, Soldier of Fortune and Child in Time.

On the latter couple in particular Doogie excelled well beyond the call of duty. He handled Child in Time on his own – without backup from the evening’s female vocalist as has previously been standard practise. Hitting all the right notes, at one point he pulled away from the mic completely and let forth an extraordinarily strong phrase. Unamplified by the PA, his voice still filled the entire auditorium.

“Mit Essen spielt man nicht” is a German saying that means you don’t play with your food (Essen means food). The city of Essen has adopted the saying as a motto for its theaters, indicating that they also present serious plays. Monday night at Essen Philharmonie it could also be argued that in Essen they don’t take their music lightly. It is serious fun.


Pictures of Home
The Sun Will Shine Again
The Telemann Experiment
Pictured Within
Wait a While
Perfect Strangers
Soldier of Fortune
Child in Time

Read also Bo Olsson’s review.

Soundcheck photos: Rasmus Heide


2 thoughts on “Serious fun in Essen

  1. not officially recorded (afaik), but there exists a bootleg. check

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s