This page last updated March 17, 2003

February 7th 2003
The Basement, Sydney
(w/Hoochie Coochie Men) view more photos

Mick Harris writes:
Watching the webcast of Jon Lord with the Hoochie Coochie Men - ah, the memories. Jon seems more relaxed tonight. S
ound 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.

Conrad writes:
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 incredible.
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...

Rasmus Heide writes:
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.

Michael Arthur writes:
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 and
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.

Colin Hadden writes:
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 bloody cares!
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.

Michael Keating writes:
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.

Paul Hogan writes:
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. Rasmus]
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 of subtlety.
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 here!
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.

John Horlock writes:
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.
Thank you. It was wonderful.

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