THIS MAY BE THE LAST TIME –
HOPE TO SEE HIM AGAIN SOON
Enjoy this special
trip. With beer & ribs, with poetry, with virtue, or with
music as you please, but get drunk with life, it’s the
best love to have.
The gates open at
1:00 on this Monday’s event. This free concert festival is
a three day event. It began on Saturday with “Status Quo”
and many of our friends and fellow music lovers started
rolling in all weekend long. We arrived right on time and
even spent ten minutes waiting outside for the gates to
open. Our main interest is catching Alvin Lee in concert
one more time, but before that happens, three other bands
needed to perform first, as Alvin was the main attraction.
As the first ones
in, we now needed to keep an eye out for the other members
of our little troop of merry pranksters. Which included:
Reinhard, Peter, Theo, Markus and Gaby, Brigitte and
myself, which makes seven in all. We haven’t seen our
friends in about eight months, and to be together again is
a good feeling to have. My main job today, is to hold down
the fort, I’m anchored to the picnic table, making it our
home base and meeting spot. The Schwab’s drug store of the
Raalte Festival. Many strangers sit with me, we talk, they
eat and move on. One group in their
early to mid 20’s joined me and we had a great
conversation and many hearty laughs together. Thank you
all for your company.
It’s a beautiful pre-summer’s day,
complete with blue skies and positive festival atmosphere.
There’s two stages here, one over by the concession
stands, head shops and tee-shirt with used record bins
full of delights. The other stage is under the main tent
where all the top name talent will perform. On the
outskirts of the big-top are a few dozen picnic tables,
more food and refreshment trailers, that were getting a
good work out all day long. Lord, a raging river of beer
flowed and tons of food was consumed by an army of
carnivore vultures, also known as
music lovers. While the plastic cups and empty cardboard
boxes were up to my knees and rising higher by the end of
There is high
energy, combined with an annoying restlessness, going on
among our music tribe. No one wants to sit, everyone is in
motion and wandering around with a driven purpose.
Cameras at the
ready and it’s many hours yet before Alvin arrives. Back
stage passes have been secured, everyone is making their
personal preparations, mental maps and strategies are
burning as hot and bright as the heavenly star in the
heavens above. It’s as if my colleagues have been notified
well in advance, that something unearthly will be taking
place here in a score of hours and they want to be ready.
In ancient times, I’m sure that, the putting out of the
sun light, with a total eclipse had the same effect.
People do take notice.
As I sit here, my
friends come and go, like mad-brained children, like
waiting to get into the car for the trip they know is
coming. The anxiety of anticipation. Are we there yet?
Or at Christmas
time saying, when is Santa Clause coming? Why is it taking
so long? In the meantime,
they are all wandering aimlessly to and fro, lost in their
own perpetual journey.
My Dream State:
My dream is not
their dream or desire. My dream has already been fulfilled
some time ago. Their dreams will become a reality on this
day, although none of us are aware of this eventuality.
Their restlessness is caused by being unconsciously aware
of the part they will play in this predestined plan. It’s
a convergence, where their personal will and desire,
intersect head on, and dream / reality collide, and no
one will ever forget the elation and overflowing bliss
that consumed everyone.
As for me, I feel
like the Beatles song “A Day In The Life”, when someone
spoke and I went into a dream. A continual flow of
humanity, slowly passing before my eyes. Colours melting
into pastels, in a smear of impressionistic art. I hear
distorted music coming from the stage, distorted voices in
my ears, interrupted by whispering voices of friends
asking me for information, or relaying information for me
to pass on to the others. I’m a human receiver, collecting
and transmitting all the time. There are babies
in strollers, children running around and teenagers of all
descriptions. From Gothic dress,
to Hippie sandals and tie-dyed shirts of the past, to
practically naked guys and girls with cowboy boots and
colourful headbands, a strange combination.
Chasing Down A
Who Do There:
A young woman with
a missing leg, and her father wheelchair bound sit at my
table. People with
walking sticks, crutches and dozens more wheelchairs
present themselves. People helping
people, others moving quietly aside with a smile of
understanding as the handicapped try to get through. Old
people, ex-hippies, and heavy metal kids attend this free
festival. Everybody and anybody – it’s a holiday…and
people are literately dancing´ in the street.
It’s a full house,
red hair, blue hair, pink hair, tattoos galore, piercing
and bare flesh. Exhibitionist, introverts, and thankfully
no perverts readily visible. Shy girls, families of six,
join in the festivities, collecting guitar picks. On foot,
in cars and on bikes. Tee-Shirts with a thousand messages
advertising everything. Insane, profane perverse…I read
them all, in the maelstrom passing before my tired eyes.
They give insight to the person behind them. Signs, everywhere
more signs. My brain becomes numb on an overdose of
coke-a-cola and all the commotion going on. As the day
progresses, the crowd is in a mad / happy frenzy.
What I used to do,
now our family of friends does. They do all the leg work,
get the press passes, backstage permission, photo passes
and arrange everything well in advance of the concert. I
mean many months prior to this event. In particular our
friend Peter is well prepared and being overly anxious is
The Sky Is
In the mist of my
day dreaming, Peter in great haste approaches me with a
message….are the British coming? Is the world ending my
friend? Or as Chicken Little says, is the sky falling?
Arrived” is his excited announcement, “his bus is here” –
“Alvin is here”…..”the bus is out back of the backstage
area”. 4:00 and Alvin’s here. Needless to say, this sets
all my friends into heightened motion once again…ah, life
in the fast lane…and they all scatter once more.
Alvin Lee has
finally come full circle, he’s matured, blown it all out
and finally found the best way to exist. He’s been on the
road to freedom for countless years, as we all know.
In 1970 his lyrics
indicated that; “I’ve been working on the road for about
fifteen years, I’ve been blowing my mind and blasting my
ears, don’t you know babe”. But now 42 years later,
Alvin’s life is better reflected in the words of Neil
Young’s song called “Comes A Time” because that’s where
Mr. Lee is at today. His time has come today.
It’s May 28, 2012
– Raalte, Holland - exactly 6:15 PM - Alvin Lee -
Guitar, vocals and harmonica, Pete Pritchard on bass and
Richard Newman on drums hit the stage, ringing out with
“We did some rock `n´ roll up in Texas, and the folks
from the coast towns said, better watch yourself up in
Texas, or you might just end up dead, boy!”. That’s the
opener, and it lasted the better part of five minutes.
Alvin and band came on strong for the first number and
stayed powerfully in control throughout their set.
The Concert Ends
On A High Note:
Alvin Lee had the
best sound, was the most interesting and had the best time
of all the bands that preceded him. Alvin and band were
relaxed, happy to be there and really enjoyed themselves
immensely. He’s in good shape, and happy in his own skin
these days. He’s just one of the boys in the band having a
hell of a good time for himself. If the truth be told
about the man, deep down inside, he really does give a
damn. At the end of the show, Alvin kissed the palm of his hand and
then waved it to the audience with his love to all. He
didn’t run or walk quickly off the stage, but instead
soaked it all in and let us know that he was indeed very
Alvin Lee Set List – With
Approximate Times and Close To The Original Running Order:
Rock `n´ Roll
Music To The World - 4:10
Callin´ - 4:55
I Can’t Keep
From Cryin` Sometimes – 7:50
How Do Ya Do
It – 4:20
Instrumental Followed By – Silly Thing – One Minute Long
I Don’t Give A
Damn – 5:00
You A Letter – Long Version – 10:25 – Alvin Says “Rock and
Slow Blues In
C – 8:55 (Excellent)
I’m Gonna Make
It – 5:00
Intro – Into I Woke Up This Morning 7:50
Love Like A
Man – 10:00 – Alvin Using Drum Stick, Adjusting His
Amplifiers, Using His Harmonica As A Slide and The
Microphone Stand As A Slide For Effect.
I’m Going Home
Rip It Up –
(Encore) – 2:15 (I’m sure that the festival authorities
had no problem in allowing Alvin the luxury to extend his
set by three minutes).
A Thank You
Message From Alvin Lee:
Thanx to the gang
for their reviews and kind words. I enjoyed the gig
myself, it’s always particularly good to go on without
having a sound check, as there’s a special adrenalin buzz
and it all somehow seems more instant and real. There’s
some ok stuff on you-tube, which I have asked Warner’s not
to take off for now, so everybody who couldn’t make it can
get a taste. It’s nothing like being there, but I know it
will give you all a buzz.
It’s also to make up for the
news that the new album will not be out until August 27th.
Both Rainman and Repertoire have said they need more time
to promote and distribute the CD. I am as disappointed as
U guys, as for me it’s done and I am looking forward to
hearing the reactions, but it does make sense to get the
best possible promo, rather than rush it out.
By the way: The
intro ditty is from “Cry Me A River” Julie London with
Barney Kessel on guitar.
Thanx to all and
Keep On Rockin´
|| Still On The Road To Freedom
1. Still On The Road To Freedom (4:22)
2. Listen To Your Radio Station ((2:20)
3. Midnight Creeper (4:09)
4. Save My Stuff (4:01)
5. I'm A Lucky Man (3:24)
6. Walk On, Walk Tall (3:15)
7. Blues Got Me So Bad (2:08)
8. Song Of The Red Rock Mountain (2:03)
9. Nice & Easy (2:03)
10. Back In '69 (2:35)
11. Down Line Rock (2:28)
12. Rock You (1:32)
13. Love Like A Man 2 (4:32)
Alvin was gracious
and a gentleman, signing autographs without any hesitation
It should also be
mentioned that every bands set was filmed on stage at this
festival, except for Alvin’s performance. This I
personally find hard to accept, for the fans who couldn’t
make it, it would have been a pleasure for them to see
what they’ve missed.
Also, there was no
merchandise stand of any sort, no cd’s, dvd’s, tee-shirts,
posters, just nothing at all for the fans to purchase.
The Bands Who
Played On Day Three:
- Erwin Nyhoff – 2. DJ – 3.
Gerry McAvoy and Friends – 4.
DJ – 5. Ian Siegal – 6. DJ - Alvin Lee
The only band (other than Alvin Lee)
that I found interesting was Gerry McAvoy and his tribute
to his old band mate, the late Rory Gallagher. Many people
said they also liked Ian Siegal, and Miss Montreal Plays The
Blues – was a big hit too, the day before!
A good show, a good performance and a
shot of confidence for Alvin. He played slower than usual,
with more taste and less haste. He was cool calm and
relaxed. The songs flowed well and the band was in good
form and happy.
It’s good to
still have him around and playing.