Sunflower Jam • 2011
Sunflower Jam / July 2011
Mixed reactions to this event, though reviews of their last slot at this do were hardly breathtaking. A number of people even had to miss DPs stint this time so they could get last transport home!
Highway Star Maybe I’m A Leo (with Bonamassa) Strange Kind Of Woman Contact Lost When A Blind Man Cries The Well-Dressed Guitar Black Night Smoke On The Water (with Bonamassa, Bill Bailey & Jack Moore)
REVIEW • A 5am start and a broken foot – but the prospect of an evening with legends was enough to lure us down from Scotland. Any criticism of the event has to be tempered by the fact that it raised a lot of money for charity but on the negative side the music did not start until after nine thirty due to the interminable auction which attracted heckles from those in the so called ‘cheap seats’ (obviously not cheap enough as the event was not a sell-out). Nevertheless, when the music did start we were treated to some great sets, highlights being Joey B’s blues and an awesome version of A Whiter Shade of Pale by Gary Brooker. Jon Lord was on fire for his solo set and the anticipated keyboard duel with Rick Wakeman lived up to expectations.
It was well after midnight when Deep Purple came on stage and, despite the Albert Hall’s famed acoustics, the sound was all over the place and Gillan’s mike and Glover’s bass were not working properly. Consequently Highway Star was a bit of a disaster. A bit of order was restored for Maybe I’m a Leo when Joe joined the band on stage but Morse’s guitar was now too low in the mix, which spoilt the guitar interplay. On the positive side, Gillan was in good form now that we could hear him and the band went into When a Blind Man Cries, Contact Lost and Well Dressed Guitar. Strange Kind of Woman followed before the stage filled for Smoke on the Water. Unfortunately, this was offset by Bill Bailey playing the riff … on hand bells. Fun for the band maybe but not for the audience who were desperate to rock.
All in all an A+ for the supporting cast and a B- for the 35 minutes that Purple played. A long and very expensive outing for us and I hope the sound engineers stay off the booze when Purple & orchestra tackle the notorious Big Shed in Glasgow later this year.
REVIEW • I can’t help but feel disappointment for the missed opportunity that was The Sunflower Jam. I have been following Purple since my first time at the Kilburn Gaumont State in ’74 (Live In London). There have been some high points and some low points over the years.
This I feel was one of the low points, the problems with the sound aside. I set out for the Royal Albert Hall in good spirits. Jon Lord was on the bill, together with Joe Bonamassa who has been touring with an ex-Purple bass player. Also Coverdale was in the area a couple of weeks ago (in good voice too). The band were billed as “Deep Purple and Friends” – could there be a chance of getting Hughes, Lord, Paice and perhaps even Coverdale on the same stage? If not, would Purple take the opportunity to spring some other surprises? How about a rendition of Smooth Dancer or something new that they’ve written for the next album perhaps, or even a cover version to mark the event?
In the end what we got was the same old tired set, played enirely without Jon (even though he was in the building). I must say I won’t be spending £250 (incl. babysitter) to go to the next Sunflower Jam. In fact, I’m not even bothering to go see the “Songs That Built Rock” tour later this year. That’s it for me unless there are some big changes. I’ve seen it all before I’m afraid.
Set courtesy of Nigel Young. It was cow bells, not hand bells too he says!For some the most interesting part of the evening was the duet between Lord and Wakeman, something often talked about (I seem to recall Jon mentioning the idea in interviews in 1970!). Lo and behold the pair enjoyed this so much, and found working together so easy, that they have now talked seriously about a full album collaboration. Bill Bass says one of the ‘prizes’ in the auction was a day drumming at Ian Paices house!