Alvin Lee - Pete Pritchard - Richard Newman
at Ribs'n'Blues Festival in Raalte, Holland

28 May 2012


Concert Photos by B&D Concert Photos by Markus Hagner Concert Photos by Peter Mand

Review - Fans - Festival

Photos by Peter Mand and Brigitte & Dave





















































































































































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 the day.


 Strange Vibrations:

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.


Transitional Flux:

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 an understatement.


The Sky Is Falling:

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?

“Alvin Just 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 happy.

Alvin Lee Set List – With Approximate Times and Close To The Original Running Order:

1.      Rock `n´ Roll Music To The World - 4:10

2.      Hear Me Callin´ - 4:55

3.      I Can’t Keep From Cryin` Sometimes – 7:50

4.      How Do Ya Do It – 4:20

5.      Short Instrumental Followed By – Silly Thing – One Minute Long

6.      I Don’t Give A Damn – 5:00

7.      I’m Writing You A Letter – Long Version – 10:25 – Alvin Says “Rock and Roll Baby”

8.      Slow Blues In C – 8:55 (Excellent)

9.      I’m Gonna Make It – 5:00

10.    Scat Thing Intro – Into I Woke Up This Morning 7:50

11.    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.

12.    I’m Going Home – 15:00

13.   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 (39:55)

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)



Backstage With Alvin Lee:

Alvin was gracious and a gentleman, signing autographs without any hesitation or reservation.

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:  

  1. 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.








Photos © Peter B. Mand, Brigitte Scholz



Alvin’s last live performance and the entire trip.

Evi thinking back and remembering details

As usual, Alvin and I flew in the day before, for a change on a Sunday as it was Pentecost and that Monday was a holiday in European countries. We stayed in a hotel in Amsterdam and had a quiet meal, sitting at a table on the pavement and looking at people strolling in the balmy evening air, or whizzing past on their bicycles.

The band was not able to travel the day before due to other engagements and had to catch a nine o’clock flight from London, which meant some of them had to get up as early as

4:00 am! The mini-bus picking them up from Amsterdam airport stopped by the hotel so Alvin and I could hop on. It was a couple of hours drive to Raalte and chatting during the journey, we managed to catch up with everything that had happened over the last nine months since the previous gig.

By the time we arrived in Raalte, bands are already playing on both stages, which means there is no chance to do a sound check. Nevertheless. Steve our soundman needs to farmiliarise himself with the available equipment and make sure the backline is working ok. Rich has to build his drum kit and Pete has to make sure that the double bass that was supplied was correctly strung with the required nylon strings and tune it. There’s no need for Alvin to hang around backstage and get bothered by questions and autograph request, so he decides to stay in the hotel room and put a brand new set of strings on his stage guitar, and get himself ready for the show. He likes to arrive in the dressing room ideally, fifteen minutes before going on stage. Just enough time to to give the guitar one final tune and a change into his stage outfit, although you wouldn’t notice much of a difference to his normal street clothes ! Just something he could take off afterwards, as it all be sweat-soaked.

Pete and Rich are still in their travelling clothes as they had expected to get back to the hotel and change during the afternoon, but as the whole town appeared to be at the festival, the journey would have taken much too long, thring to get through the congested back roads, so they decided to go on stage as they were. Pete now regrets that as the check shirt and old jeans would have not been his choice to wear for what turned out to become such a memorable show. Rich had the opportunity to be sorry about it straight after the show, as his shirt was sopping wet and no spare tee-shirt could be found for him back-stage !

When we arrived at the venue, we were both very pleased to see Garry McAvoy still backstage after the earlier show, with his "Band of Friends." Garry was Rory Gallagher’s bass player for many years, another guitarist that I’m a big fan of. Alvin toured the United States in the mid 1990’s with Garry and his then band, "Nine Below Zero" and we became well acquainted spending these weeks together on the road – which also happened to be my first tour on another continent !!! We had the chance to talk for a few minutes and get introduced to his band mates who we hadn’t met before, most notably Ted McKenna who was Rory’s drummer in the early days.

The stage is located in a big circus tent with "standing only" on the main floor, and there appears to be a balcony upstairs with seats. The change-over on stage is done with great efficiency, and directed by Steve who is responsible to plug in Alvin’s transmitter and amp to the usual settings, and also to mike up the speakers and the drum kit. In the dressing room, Steve asks Alvin to give him a twang through the Marshalls to hear if the guitar is hooked up correctly, then heads through the audience to the front-of-the-house- mixing desk.

The festival’s conferencier introduces the band in Dutch, then Pete walks up to the microphone and says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Welcome The Legendary Alvin Lee."

The band launches into "Rock And Roll Music To The World," the traditional opener for many of Alvin’s shows. The band concentrates on getting the monitor levels correctly adjusted so they can hear what they play through the on-stage speakers pointing at them. Steve gets the sound for the audience sorted out in record time, and still manages by the end of the song to have a very respectable mix for the recording of the show, that he’s running on the side. Usually he would record the show onto mini-disc for Alvin to listen to back home and analyse his playing. This time he uses a Zoom-H4n – hand-held-recorder and records in a different format – how lucky is that for us now ! This seems quite ironic when I think about it, as these recording devices are usually employed by members of the audience in order to bootleg a show illegally. The audience in this case, is that the audio is recorded on two stereo tracks, one direct line-in-from the mixing desk and the other through the recorder’s built in microphones.

The sound and to a lesser degree, Alvin’s guitar playing on the opener, "Rock And Roll Music To The World" was not considered good enough for a release when Alvin heard it and therefore it’s not included on the CD. "Hear Me Calling" which followed, gains momentum after the first half minute or so and "I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes," still manages to capture me completely when listening. In "I’m Writing You A Letter" Alvin comes off stage during the drum solo, to tune up and relate anything that he cannot communicate to me while on stage. On this occasion, I don’t remember anything that needed fixing, so the second part of the show shapes up to be more relaxed for me. Another personal high-light for me, as always, "Slow Blues In C."

I don’t know how many of you noticed it, but Alvin actually starts singing the wrong song at the beginning of "I’m Gonna Make It," and then realises this when it gets to the chorus and then slides – more or less smoothly – into the correct lyrics.

I don’t want to omit the little anecdote, which is also featured in the CD’s liner notes liner notes, where Alvin sees a sign held up in the audience, and Alvin reads it out loud,

"Will You Sign My Tits…? Followed by a little laugh and "I’m sorry Mate!" as it’s a guy holding the sign ! It actually spells – "T-SHIRT" and sorry Dennis Ruesink sadly never got his autograph.

By the time the band plays, "I Woke Up This Morning" the stage manager approaches me and points out that according to a piece of paper pinned up backstage, the curfew will be in ten minutes. This is contradictory to the information I received a few weeks earlier, where Alvin was allowed 75 minutes scheduled for his set. I try to defuse the situation by saying there are only two songs left in the set, but failing to mention that they usually added up to over twenty minutes, plus at least one encore….but somebody on the other side of the stage is apparently signing to the band, because Alvin comments – "A guy is saying that we have five minutes to go"…no way…The Festival normally very strictly adheres to the curfew imposed by the town hall, but other than shutting down the sound system in mid-song, there’s no stopping Alvin when he is having that much fun !!! Fortunately, they didn’t resort to such drastic action and even permitted an encore – in for a penny – in for a pound – there isn’t much choice anyway with the audience yelling for more ! Alvin walks off stage, with a big grin on his face, exhausted, exhilarated and knowing to have given the audience his best that evening.

Back to the dressing room to change clothes and after a quick – well deserved – glass of red wine into the catering tent as we’re all starving. The Festival’s name is after all "Ribs and Blues." But, it unfortunately doesn’t extend to the backstage area food, not a rib in sight !!! Anyway, something resembling hot food fills the hungry hole and then we head back to the hotel in which mostly bands and their crews are staying. In the courtyard, there is a little acoustic jam happening, but we’re only interested in dropping our bags and equipment in the room. Out front there is already a big table occupied by Garry and his band. So we sit down to enjoy the warm evening. We listen to everyone’s tour stories and contribute some of our own.

The hours fly by and very unusual for Alvin, as he’s a incredibly moderate drinker, he enjoys himself never the less. I have no such restraint, but the less said. Pete, Rich and Steve, are really beat – not at all surprising after their early start – and very sensibly retreat after an hour, but we sit well into the dark. This evening’s conclusion is now a treasured memory for me.




Our special Thanks to Peter Mand, Mirjam Groot Beumer/Ribs & Blues,

Markus Hagner Photography, Gaby Klebeck, Theo Laagland, Reinhard Pieper, Sander and Janni

Concert Photos by B&D Concert Photos by Markus Hagner Concert Photos by Peter Mand


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