Jon Lord Usher Hall Edinburgh 5 October 2009

Jon Lord Usher Hall Edinburgh 5 October 2009

I’ve alway liked Deep Purple’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra album, and I regret that I never saw them perform it live in concert. I remember seeing it on TV in the late ’60s and bought the lp at the time. I used to play that album and the Moodie’s Days of Future Past again and again on my record player. So when I saw that Jon Lord was planning to perform the work at the Usher Hall I couldn’t resist buying a ticket. The concert sounded pretty interesting from the word go. The plan was for Jon to rehearse with young music students from Stevenson College in Edinburgh and from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow. These young people would be the group for the night and also form members of the orchestra. Sounded like a great opportunity for some young scottish musicians to work and perfrom with a legend. The final performance was to be with Jon Lord, a 100 piece orchestra and the group of young musicians. The Usher Hall has recently reopened after being refurbsihed. So this seemed a great opportunity to see one of my favourite pieces of music performed in a great setting.

As it happened I was feeling pretty tired on Monday night; I was still recovering from the trip to London to see Mott the Hoople a couple of days earlier; and couldn’t really face the 250 ml round drive to Edinburgh after work. But I convinced myself it would be worthwhile. I arrived in Edinburgh around 7pm and went into the Usher Hall to find my seat and buy a programme (a bargain at £2!).

The first half of the show consisted of Phil Cunningham, traditional musicians and the orchestra from the Royal Scottish Academy and Stevenson College playing some traditional tunes. This was a nice start to the evening and brought us to the interval at around 8pm.

Around 8.30pm the lights went down and Jon Lord, Stevenson’s six piece rock band Concertium and the orchestra took to the stage. The conductor for the evening was Paul Mann who has conducted this work with Jon before. The Concerto is in three movements; Slow, Fast and Slow as Jon told us. The performance stayed true to the original and was played brilliantly by the young musicians, most of whom were first year students. The three movements seemed to be over in no time at all. The band were first class, the guitar solos were fluid and seemed improvised yet also stayed true to the original as played by Ritchie Blackmore. The vocalist, Grant Barclay, was superb. And Jon’s swirling Hammond (hired, I noticed, from Vintage Hammond Hire Scotland!) took us all back to the 60s. This was a concert unlike any I have ever seen, blending orchestral music with rock in the unique way that the Concerto does. After a standing ovation, the musicians returned to the stage and Jon introduced us to ” a song from the same period”. The first few notes of Child in Time raised an immediate cheer from the audience and we were treated to a breath-taking version of the Purple classic with faultless vocals from Grant Barclay. As Paul Mann said at the end “Ian Gillan would have been proud”.

The show was over at around 9.45, and I reached home shortly after midnight, tired but pleased that I had gone. The concert was excellent; something that I will remember for a long time, and I may not gate the chance to see performed again.






One response to this post.

  1. Posted by phil tsatsas on October 10, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Wow what a wonderful review. I’ve seen purple in concert
    So many times and I wish I could have seen lord
    Perform with such an orchestra. I take my hat off
    To you sir and keep writing!
    P.s I had the luxury years ago of seeing gillan oerform
    ‘Child in time’ for one of the last time in greece.
    I would trade my experience for your though after reading about
    Your experience.


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