Jon Lord – Concerto 2012
Jon Lord • Concerto For Group & Orchestra
Edel CD/ DVD : December 2012
As expected, most hard core fans held on to buy the special book version of this project, complete with the CD, a Making Of DVD, and a 70 page booklet. Here are some thoughts on the release. To read more about the project on the site click here.
I was apprehensive on reading that Bruce Dickinson was on the recording and in fact that is my only negative thought now that I’ve watched and listened to the complete package. He is far too loud, I don’t know why they didn’t mix him down even just a tiny bit. He certainly has a pair of lungs and can sing in tune, but it seems a bit mad having Gillan’s emotional lyrics delivered at 130 Db! Having watched the ‘making of’ before actually listening to the Cd I anticipated that guitarist Darin Vasilev would be dreadful (3 million notes per second!), but he fits in superbly on the recording. Joe Bonamassa for me is a ‘so what’ type of player – yes he’s got the blues licks, but it doesn’t show any originality of thought (I was also put off by his unnecessary gurning while he plays – save that for the gig, not for the studio!), and I’m afraid that Steve Morse also fits in to that ‘nothing new here’ category, but his stuff does sit very nicely in the recording. I think the idea of having three players (and three singers) is an inspired one, and far better to have diversity than blandness.
The bonus DVD is well worth the trouble, plenty of behind the scenes stuff – although it is shocking to see Jon in 2011, then in 2012 – he looked very frail. The two extra interview segments are fascinating but I felt sad that the very lengthy one (with Paul Mann) would have been with Jon if things had not gone the way they did. It’s moving to see Paul speak with great frankness about the history of the piece and its impact on his own career – comparing this interview with bits in the main feature (which were done while Jon was still alive) and it is apparent that he is far more reverential, but that is understandable and is certainly not a criticism. I have been irritated by the recent fashion of DVD’s having ‘interviews’ that consist of a collection of individual film clips on one topic – the 2 here (the other is with transcriber Marco) are thankfully continuous with cutaways to the behind the scenes footage where appropriate. This is a superb release and a fitting tribute to our favourite keyboard player – and composer. I followed Simon’s advise about the region sticker on the cover – it came off with lighter fluid but I still have a very sticky square patch.
Took me a week to pick up the courage to put this on, didn’t want to be disappointed. I wasn’t. It’s hard to believe someone as inexperienced and as young as Jon was at the time could have composed something as intricate and complex as this but you can hear every detail here. Paul has done a super job with the orchestra. It’s not without its flaws (I’ve mixed feelings about the patchwork quilt mixing of soloists for instance) but overall a very fitting epitaph indeed.
I have listened to the CD a couple if times and must say I was concerned before I played it that I would not settle with it. My major worry was that I did not know if they would get the same feel as the original, and also there were three guitarists instead of just the one.
My concerns were completely blown away after the first listen. It sounds ‘live’ and has a certain feel to it that equals the original for me. Jon’s work is full of feeling and the guitar solos are current without being flashy for the sake of it (which I thought some may try to do).
The recording will reveal more the more I listen to it and I know I will listen a lot. I am really pleased they got round to doing it.
One small point. Sometimes the band are too loud?
The DVD is a good but some parts are repeated in the bonus material. It is a shame no one thought to get Jon to do his own section for the dvd. The part about his solo is heart rending to hear but at the same time it is nice to know how it was done.
A couple of people have spotted incorrect dates in one or two photo captions in the extended booklet; they should be 2011 not 2012, and escaped me and several proof readers. I was thinking the other day would it be possible to come up with a hybrid Concerto, using the orchestral work from the new version with the band and solos from the original? A real labour of love and without Jon’s approval maybe impossible.