The Basement, Sydney (w/Hoochie Coochie
Men) view more photos
Watching the webcast of Jon Lord with the Hoochie Coochie Men - ah,
the memories. Jon seems more relaxed tonight. Sound
and picture quality good. I
feel slightly ripped off though as Jon made it clear during our gig
in Melbourne last night that he was not overly keen to play any Purple
stuff. But wasn't it great to hear the Lazy riff and then When A Blind
Man Cries - sung by Jimmy Barnes. He made a good effort of it too.
Hope someone video'd or taped it as they were hot tonight.
What can I say? An absolutely perfect night!
We had a drummer and bass player that drove this beautiful machine
to a tee, feeding off each other as a perfect rhythm section should.
Jim Conway was brilliant - man, he can bend (the notes) on that Harmonica!
I didn't realise Gaze is in fact the guy that used to play with Rose
Tattoo way back when. Just think Ian Moss, that's what he was like.
Fantastic blues guitar picking and sliding, and smooooooth vocals.
Once again, brilliant!
And of course, how could one imagine a better way to witness Jon Lord's
mastery, in a sweaty little club with all heads bopping away. We got
the classical bits, the thunderous swelling bits, the humour, the
intensity, atmosphere... I'm still buzzing from it. This was just
And Barnsie, well, I'll give him his dues, Hoochie Coochie Man was
a perfect song for him to stretch the vocal chords on. He was a joy
to watch, and a song only Barnsy can do best. As for When A Blind
Man Cries, subtlety is not his trademark. He didn't tell the story
with the feel and delicacy the song deserves, but hey, that's Barnsie.
I was hoping for a 'one long day'-style delivery (a brilliant song),
but he wasn't comfortable, especially singing the lyrics from an idiot
card. Ah well.
This is and was, for the intimacy, atmosphere and vibe, one of the
best shows I've ever witnessed. We were all on a high. My darling
wife Marion loved Willy Dixon's You Need Love, a fantastically sensual
rendition. If anyone caught me laughing, it was because I was a very
happy man! I will live with the memory of last night forever, an absolute
blast for all. You could just feel it in the whole room.
And I must say our own keyboard player David was also in heaven, standing
in front of the stage getting people to shout for an encore.
The face below says it all...
I'd hate to have to choose between this set and the originally
planned set of Sarabande, Pictured Within, etc solo material. Expectations
were mixed before today's show, but I came away with a grin reaching
all the way back to my ears.
Via the webcast I watched from the other side of the globe (Denmark
to be precise) with awe, amazement and more than a slight envy Jon
Lord's club gig in Sydney - in realtime (what a treat!).
Playing a number of blues-rock classics and Hoochie Coochie Men originals,
Lord excelled in just about every song with amazingly inspired and
fluid Hammond solos. The unconfined joy I felt from oggling the little
webcast window with my ears emersed in (headphone-supplied) stereo
Hammond gorgeousness was at times so strong it felt like I was rediscovering
the man and his abilities all over again.
The warm, heartfelt atmosphere at The Basement was conveyed beautifully
through the webcast, which often brilled with very good camera work,
showing wide angle shots of the stag and the crowd, and often focusing
on Jon's hands. On a small stage Jon was back at his old stage-left
position (viewed from the crowd), with the guitarist, drummer, bass
player and wheelchair-bound harmonica player spread across the stage.
For a webcast the sound was just excellent.
The Hoochie Coochies appeard to be a very competent blues combo with
ex-Rainbow, ex-Ozzy man Bob Daisley on bass. Introducing an excellent
re-working of Willie Dixon's You Need Love the guitarist spoke of
how Led Zeppelin attempted to rewrite history and make the song their
own when a crowd member yelled out 'just like Ozzy', hinting at the
fiasco of the Sabs man obliterating Daisley's contributions to the
singer's early solo albums.
Daisley's bass itself had the simple message of 'no war' scrawled
in hand, and at one point Jon told the crowd to take care of their
beautiful country and not let their prime minister send them off to
war. In fact, Jon repeatedly told the audience what a fantastic time
he is having Down Under, and judging by his slightly lobster-ish tan,
he is taking advantage of the country's plentiful supply of sunshine.
One highlight would be Jon's long intro to Back To The Chicken Shack
during which he incorporated bits of the Lazy riff, in amongst some
truly inspired Hammond work.
The enthusiasm and excitement in his playing made me wonder how much
he's subconsciously missed spending time with The Beast since his
final Purple shows in September last year. He might wish to focus
on the classical side of his skills right now, but today's showed
more than proved that he can go back and (mis)treat that organ again
any day - and blow any and all competition right off the stage.
And all the trademarks were there, hands zooming up and down the keys,
from delicate classically-inspired passages through high intensity
top-of-the-range blistering runs to the inimitable Jon Lord Hammond
swells and swooshes. Wow.
Can't wait till the re-runs.
Jon, thanks so much for a sensational show last Friday night at The
Basement. Your work has inspired me for decades and so to see you
up close and personal was a special moment for me. The band were great
the music superb. Please know that you are much loved and admired
here and we will be looking forward to welcoming you in a return visit
very soon! Thanks again.
Suffice to say that Mr Lord has really kicked on since leaving DP.
Sad to say in a way but it was probably the best thing he could have
done. He really seemed happy and was on fire, as were his backing
group The Hoochie Coochie Men.
This was as good a concert as any I have been to and they covered
so many artists, as well as their own stuff, that it was amazing to
think they probably have had bugger all practice/rehearsals.
The gig was really first class with the choice of music and the overall
standard of musicianship. There were one or two fluffed cues but they've
only been together for a week or so. And if anyone likes the blues
- The Hoochie Coochie Men deliver. Because of my love for the blues
(and DP and JL and Time Gaze, etc) maybe I'm a bit biased - but who
That was one hot gig. Everyone else has said a lot so I'll make a
few short sharp (I hope) comments.
The guys they covered on the night were Cream, Led Zep, Willie Dixon,
Peter Green, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnny Winter and more. And I'm pretty
sure those guys would have been proud.
Just think that Jon didn't have his own original Hammond and yet he
dragged some sounds out that were awesome. Those classical and the
couple of DP quotes and typical DP keyboard runs showed he still has
what it takes to perform in rock as well.
How much practice/rehearsal did they have? I like Jon's comment that
an hour before the show he said to Jim Conway "If I nod to you
can you do something" - man, what a harp show. The first time
I've seen Jim live and I was more than impressed.
Jimmy Barnes - OK listen up folks - that version of Hoochie Coochie
Man was bloody good. If Jimmy sang that type of music I think I'd
be a fan of his.
When A Blind Man Cries - Jimmy Barnes did a passable job but he just
doesn't suit the song. I think Tim would have been better.
The last two jams - man, they were on fire. This is the stuff that
legends are made of.
Bob Daisley and Rob Grosser - they are a genuine blues rhythm unit.
Hoochie Coochie Men - what can I say. I think that if anyone who was
there at these concerts doesn't go to see them if they are nearby
needs their heads read.
Highlights - Strange Brew (with washboard and Dobro yet!), 24/7 blues,
You Need Love, Dallas, Green Onions (from Jon's first ever pro gig
with Redd Bludd according to himself), Jon's solos. Loved Jon's little
asides and jokes. Showed he was really relaxed and in the groove.
Whenever I looked at Tim when he was watching Jon play he had this
silly grin as though he couldn't believe what he was seeing and hearing.
And Jon seemed suitably impressed as well.
Deep Purple - how much I'd like to see DP play a gig like this.
Dud notes (none really) - there may have been a few missed cues or
notes not quite right (I'm no expert, but anyway a live gig is supposed
to be warts and all), but the overall feel of the concert was incredible.
Thankfully no one called for Smoke. Too bad they didn't do Crossroads,
that would have been a kicker.
It really seems that leaving DP has given Jon a new lease of life
- may he never hang up his keyboard.
There is something so satisfying about listening to a band of consummate
musicians effortlessly glide through a set of blues classics. Watching
last night's gig the smile never left my face. The band made it look
so, so easy.
Joining Deep Purple's Jon Lord on stage were the Hoochie Coochie Men,
and wasn't it a treat to see Bob Daisley (on bass) in a rare live
appearance in his native Australia? Classics such as Green Onions
(which the personable Jon confessed was in the set of his first ever
live gig way back when) and Baby Please Don't Go allowed the band
to stretch their musical muscle.
Tonight wasn't about Deep Purple - it was about a group of veteran
musicians getting together and having fun. And their enjoyment was
infectious. Besides a version of the much overlooked Deep Purple ballad
When A Blind Man Cries featuring rock icon Jimmy Barnes on vocals,
the closest tonight came to Deep Purple was a few snatches of Lazy
during one of Jon's intros. Barnsey also contributed to Hoochie Coochie
Man, a song surely written with a character such as him in mind.
The band also showed their musical roots with a slow blues version
of Cream's Strange Brew from the Hoochie Coochie Men's latest CD and
a version of Willie Dixon's I Need Love as Willie himself recorded
it rather than the plagiarised Led Zeppelin version Whole Lotta Love.
Johnny Winter's Dallas and Jimmie Smith's Back At The Chicken Shack
continued the down home blues theme. Sitting well in the set was the
Hoochie Coochie Men original 24/7 Blues.
The night was originally meant to showcase the solo side of Jon Lord's
work. After treating Sydney to his Concerto at the Opera House as
part of the Sydney Festival, Jon was planning to further delight us
with pieces from his other classically tainted solo efforts such as
Pictured Within and Gemini Suite. A recurrence of a hand injury meant
the last minute change of plans and thus the blues show. I'm sure
there were no disappointed fans tonight however. Jon Lord's virtuosity
seems to shine in any music style he puts his hand to. Let's hope
he visits our shores again soon. A classy gent with his musicianship
is always welcome.
Having just read Rasmus', Conrad's and the other reviews on the Pictured
Within site, there's probably not a lot I can add because they've
captured it beautifully. However here are a few of my own observations,
and I'll try not to go over the same ground too much:
Firstly let me make two declarations:
One, I'm not a huge fan of rootsy blues
Two, I'm not a huge fan of Jimmy Barnes.
These prejudices, especially the first one, meant that for me Jon
and the Hoochie Coochie Men were already starting at a slight disadvantage.
Having seen Jon with george and the Sydney Symphony at the Opera House
a couple of weeks earlier, I was very much looking forward to what
was to have been the original Basement show, with a ten-piece band
including a string quartet, and Miller Anderson thrown in for good
measure. The original notion was to perform a Pictured Within show:
However, as most of you probably already know, these plans were shelved
when Jon injured his thumb at the final 'george' show, rendering him
unable to play classical piano. Still being able to play (or should
that be 'tame') The Monster - the Big Bad Hammond - hurried plans
were made to salvage the shows with a blues-based set featuring Jon
supported by Australia's own Hoochie Coochie Men.
The set consisted almost entirely of roots blues covers, featuring
the work of people like Willy Dixon, Johnny Winter, Howlin' Wolf and
a lot of Muddy Waters. The band was super tight, with Bob Daisley's
bass providing a solid - well, base! - for the band to work off. His
playing is very fluid and measured, almost melodic (if a bass can
be such a thing!), though like Roger Glover he stays fairly low in
the mix. He's obviously a very competent player, having played with
the likes of Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore and Steve Vai, but his
playing on Friday night was definitely more laid back than flashy.
I guess an unobtrusive bass style suits this kind of music, though
in another context I'd like to hear him cut loose a bit more with
a more up front, chunky sound.
Bob looks for all the world like a genetically-engineered cross between
Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, with a bit of Blackmore curly-locks
thrown in for good measure. (Not to mention his way cool white leather
boots with the black zebra stripes!) He has that air of someone who's
been round rock'n'roll for an awfully long time down pat!
The rest of the band does too for that matter, mainly because they
have! And that's another of my abiding impressions of the show: Here
is a bunch of superlative musos, each of whom knows his craft just
so well, but most of them - I guess with the exception of Jon and
maybe Bob - just don't get the recognition they deserve in a world
run by accountants and a music industry run by marketers and PR people.
Guys of this vintage and calibre deserve to make a good living out
of music, but most - at least in Australia - find it very hard to
survive off music alone. Hence we have a lot of famous, or once-famous,
musicians working as landscape gardeners or computer consultants,
while pubescent kids who may have been on a soap opera often get the
exposure and all that comes with it.
Anyway, it's a great pleasure to see seasoned professionals like these
guys enjoying playing together so much! I guess that's one reason
I've also enjoyed seeing Purple's live shows in the Morse era too;
The smiles you see between the band members as they play are just
so infectious. They are obviously getting such a buzz from playing
together, and that is somehow reflected in the music. Often during
Jon's solos in particular, the rest of the band would be just beaming
with admiration and joy as they watched the master at work!
Seeing Jon play with Purple was always a pleasure, but seeing him
as the band leader, as the driver of the music, the showcase, was
another thing altogether. And especially so in a small, intimate venue
like The Basement. The sense of closeness, the personal contact one
feels with the band and the music, is something that just can't be
captured in a big hall. When Jon cut loose on that Hammond, the place
was just abuzz! My God he can make that beast sing!
It was also nice to observe how diverse the audience was: People from
their late teens to their sixties all shared in the excitement!
Jon's between-songs banter was relaxed and jovial, with lots of funny
little quips and anecdotes from a musical career that's getting on
to some forty years (as he observed at one point). One line was about
the pleasure of playing music by the great composers, and in particular
"the three Bs - Bach, Beethoven... and Black Sabbath!" There were
also some great throwaway lines about Purple and his career in general.
For example he spoke admiringly of Ritchie Blackmore in the 70s, then
corrected himself saying, "Oh no, that was Honor Blackman, wasn't
it". (For those not in the know, she was a Brit TV star from the era
who was in The Avengers among other things.)
At one point he played what I think was a song from his "holiday with
Whitesnake"; It's not one that I really recognised but others can
probably fill-in the missing piece. [Paul, you need to work on
your Whitesnake collection... The song wasn't a Whitesnake original,
but something which closely resembled for instance Fool For Your Loving.
As others have observed, there was a cover of the Willy Dixon song
that Plant and Page supposedly stole and turned into Whole Lotta Love.
It was definitely recognisable as that, but with a totally different
feel, much more cruisy and laid back. Very nice stuff.
Then there was the 'surprise guest' Jimmy Barnes, who was once considered
as a possible replacement for Gillan in DP, around the time of the
Jolene Turner era. Maybe he would have been a better choice? As stated
at the beginning, I'm not a huge fan because, as others have said,
Jimmy 'only has one gear' as a singer. That aside, he’s without doubt
one of the great rock'n'roll screamers. Barnsey's voice is what Brian
Johnson's aspires to be, but Brian's ends up sounding more like Donald
Duck on speed - whereas Barnsey can actually pull it off, and manages
to get the power behind the scream. What's wearing about listening
to him though, is that that's all he does, which ends up leaving the
impression that it's all he can do - that he's not at all capable
I've got to say that on Friday night he showed that he really can
sing. In a smaller venue, without the expectation that he'll sing
the 'bit hits', he managed, at least for a time, to drop down a gear
and allow the songs room to breathe. Not so much in Muddy Waters'
'Hoochie Coochie Man' though, which was one of the highlights of the
night! That song lends itself to a bit of screaming and Barnsey sang
it superbly. But in the one Purple song of the night, When A Blind
Man Cries, he sang with considerable feeling. Very nice to hear an
alternative take on this song, and that was also a standout for me.
Apart from the blues standards, there were a few bits'n'pieces that
Jon had dug up from the 60s. There was the instrumental piece from
The Artwoods(?) era, featuring the Hammond as lead instrument, originally
done by Booker T and the MGs, ‘Green Onions’.
There was also the majestic intro on the Hammond that featured bits
of Lazy and a couple of other Purple snippets.
In the 'powder room' a lady asked my wife Tracey what she thought
of the show. It turned out she was Bob Daisley's sister and she said
"we're all very proud of him"! Tracey said that, as much as she loved
the show, she was a bit disappointed not to have seen the originally-intended
show with the string quartet, etc. Bob's sister said Jon was disappointed
too, but that he'd had such a great time he said he'd like to come
back next year and would like to make it an annual thing! That would
be very nice indeed for we in Oz! Though every year might be a bit
too much to hope for. Then again, he seemed so relaxed, tanned and
effusive after his time here that, who knows, maybe he'll move out
He's obviously been enjoying the change of pace (Paice?) and mentioned
that his wife and daughters were at the show too, so I guess it’s
been a family holiday as well as ‘work’.
It was a great night, and a real treat to hear the master of the Hammond
at such close quarters. Very much looking forward to the next chapter
in what's looking like a whole new creative era for Jon Lord.
Hmm! There seems to be quite a few people who have beaten me to writing
a review of this performance. Must have too much time on their hands.
Or, more likely, I'm just too slack. However, this is good for me
for two reasons:
1. I get to read other people's opinions of the show, which I have
just enjoyed doing.
2. I don't need to write so much and say it all again.
So instead, I just want to add one point.
When I bought my ticket, I bought it to see Jon Lord promote his Pictured
Within album, and I was really looking forward to going. The idea
of Jon playing a set based around the classical piano and his excellent
solo material was just to good to miss.
But - had I known that he would actually be performing blues classics
with a blues band that I hadn't heard of, there is no way I would
have gone. It's as simple as that.
Then again, some things are meant to be. You see, for me it wasn't
about music style. It wasn't about song choice. It wasn't about musical
precision or showmanship.
Friday night was about Jon Lord and The Hoochie Coochie Men having
the best time playing their music together, and sharing that time
with me. And that's something special and rare.
you. It was wonderful.