sun 14/07/2024

Celebrating Jon Lord, Royal Albert Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Celebrating Jon Lord, Royal Albert Hall

Celebrating Jon Lord, Royal Albert Hall

An all-star line-up gathers to remember the many sides of Deep Purple's keyboardist

Jon Lord: a rare talent

Jon Lord may have tickled his last ivory in 2012, but last night his spirit lived defiantly on. The great and the good from both heavy and contemporary music gathered in his memory. It was for a serious purpose - to raise funds for pancreatic cancer care. But, boy, what a time we had doing it. A revolving door of stars brought us wild solos, screaming vocals and thundering rhythms.

But before all the classic rock, culminating in a set from Deep Purple, came something a little more classical.

The first hour was devoted to Lord’s orchestral compositions. Our host was “whispering” Bob Harris, who introduced us to the musicians (but rarely the titles of the pieces). Still, you didn't need to know their names to appreciate that they fell into three groups. First there were the symphonic moments such as “Durham Awakes”, which was full of rhythm, pizzicato strings and pretty woodwind motifs. Then there was a selection of gentle instrumental songs such as Miller Anderson’s warm reading of “Pictured Within”. And lastly we heard three sections from the half-forgotten Sarabande album, given fresh vigour by Paul Mann’s orchestra. By the time we got to “Bouree” it felt like a mash-up between Dave Brubeck and Scheherazade. Lovely stuff.

The biggest hit of the night was, undeniably, the vocal partnership of Glenn Hughes and Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson

Still, something felt missing. Judging from the whispering behind me I wasn’t the only one who was surprised there was nothing from Lord’s landmark Concerto for Group and Orchestra. The omission seemed particularly poignant as it had made its debut in this same hall some 45 years before. But this was, very much, an evening of surprises: such as Jeremy Irons's elegant reading of a Thomas Hardy poem over one of Lord’s piano pieces. Or the tracks that Paul Weller came up with to open the second - hard-rockin' - half.

He chose two tracks from Lord’s little known first band, the Artwoods. If Weller’s versions of “I Take What I Want” and “Things Get Better” were anything to go by, theirs was a kind of white soul/ Motown vibe. It set things up nicely for Phil Campbell’s reading of an underrated Paice Ashton Lord number called “Silas and Jerome”. He attacked it ferociously. Even the guys in front of me brandishing their copies of Classic Rock magazine seemed startled by the way the wild vocals and Bernie Marsden’s frazzled guitar shook the room.

But the biggest hit of the night was, undeniably, the vocal partnership of Glenn Hughes (pictured right) and Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. People call Dickinson the air-raid siren. Hughes sounded more like the four-minute warning. Together, their harmonies were simultaneously exquisite and unholy. And by the time they had done with "Burn", several hundred rock fans were on their feet punching the air.

Finally it was time for Deep Purple themselves. Say what you like about the so-called “Morse” Purple, they still sure know how to rock a room. The classics  - “Lazy”, “When a Blind Man Cries”, “Perfect Strangers” and “Black Night” - were utterly joyous. They didn’t, however, end with “Smoke on the Water”. Rather, it was “Hush”.

Now Bruce Dickinson, Rick Wakeman and Micky Moody returned to join them. Steve Balsamo and Sandi Thom were in the wings. The orchestra and the house band (led by Wix Wickens) were cooking.

The Sunflower Jam (who organized the night on behalf of the Jon Lord Fellowship for cancer research) had certainly put together a remarkable line-up but, as we heard over and over again, Lord was not a man who found making friends hard. Bob Harris even punned that he was a Lord amongst men; in life and in music. Over three and a half hours we were well reminded just how broad his talents were. RIP Jon Lord.

Overleaf: watch Jon Lord's Concerto for Group and Orchestra performed in the Royal Albert Hall






By the time they had done with 'Burn', several hundred rock fans were on their feet punching the air.


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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It truly was an amazing night, one of the best events I've ever attended (which includes hundreds over the years). A great mix of rock and classical music to commemorate a master musician.

The evening touched me with the sensitivity of a silk scarf delicately wrapped around 24 carat brick of pure gold. I delighted in his music and skills before I was old enough to realise how good he really was. My delight is compounded today with the appreciation that Deep Purple have the ability to fill my soul with the sound and rhythm of life. Cheers Jon, awesome legacy.

It was an AWESOME night, I believe it was the gig of the year !!!!

I was watching the DVD Group and orchestra last night 1969 and it never stops to bore me. How sad that Blackmore was a no show last night but then again, I love Steve Morse as well, they could not have picked a better guitar player for DP. But Lord remains Lord, dearly missed I will enjoy his music till the day I leave this planet Thanks Jon and may you Rest in Peace knowing you will live forever in your music. Can't wait to get the DVD of this

Really enjoyed a great night of rock and classical music. Well thought out musical choices, beautifully arranged. Excellent performances including the Violin lead and interplay with the Irish (?) bagpipes in the opening segment, Bruce Dickinson singing Burn, Glenn Hughes singing You Keep On Moving and Micky Moody's slide guitar on Soldier of Fortune among others. I would have liked to have heard one movement from Concerto.. in the classical section but that is a minor criticism.

Sarabande is not half-forgotten. It's one of his most popular pieces and featured at most gigs.

A great night, BUT I still find it strange that Blackmore was not a part of it. Him and Jon was the key for many of Purples greatest songs. It might have been Blackmore who didt not want to be there, or Gillans wish or..... Still I find it wrong.

It was the closest that anyone will ever get to seeing a Mark III Purple with Glenn Hughes and Ian Paice on the stage. 'Burn' was amazing! Another great memory was when Rick Wakeman was following Don Airey in a keyboard duel in 'Hush' and Don started playing the riff from the the 'Yes' track, 'Roundabout'. The rapport was fantastic! The only downer was that a certain man in black was not there. But, still Jon will have enjoyed it.

It was amazing! This was my third concert in the beautiful Albert Hall (I love this place; the first and second concerts were the two evenings with the "concertos" in 1999, that i will never forget!) And I can just confirme what someone wrote: Sarabande is not half-forgotten! It was an fantastic work by Jon. I missed Jon at the "classic part" very much. I was surprised of the power of the PAL-pieces. It's a pity, this band lived only for one album. I missed Jon again by the fantastic "You Keep on moving". Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, Paul Mann, Miller Anderson, Joe Brown, Glenn Hughes, Rick Wakeman: These are all nice fellows - and of course the Purples - including Don Airey (Hush was superb - like Ian would like to say). Jon - you and your music will never be forgotten.

WHAT AN EVENING!!! This was an unforgettable evening! We came with BA from Germany to watch this concert. And it was a good decision. It was our first visit in London and the first time we sat in the RAH. So beautiful! The sound was superb. The musicians were superb. It was great. Jon, we miss you!!!

We came from germany to visit RAH- Was war das für ein Superandenken an Jon Lord. Danke an alle Akteure!

A truly magical night, my first time at the RAH and it was a wonderful setting to celebrate a wonderful giant of the music world. Fantastic.

My wife and I attended and it was my second RAH concert. A fantastic evening and a fitting tribute to a great musician. My partricular highlight was the keyboard duel between Don Airey & Rick Wakeman. RIP Jon

Great show. Although I came more specifically for the rock side, the first classical pieces were great (the 1st was really awesome). It was so cool to see Glenn Hughes (you keep on moving!), and also "Burn" live, and a unexpected soldier of fortune etc. Still, the Hammond sound had a different taste this night. RIP Jon.

i attended with my girlfriend and we thought the highlight was Dickinson and Hughes doing Burn but the real moment that blew the night away was when Glenn Hughes performed This Town around performing solo with the orchestra

MASTERCLASS!!! A monument for a hard rock pioneer, great musician and gentleman! And Deep Purple as powerfull as ever! R.I.P., Jon! The Music Will live for ever!

Bruce Dickinson is awesome!! can't wait to see him with Iron Maiden this summer!! You can check their tour dates here:

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