UK Tour 2005

Astor Theatre - Deal 18-3-2005


Tommy was here!

Jan during sound checking

30 years ago I would have doubted any prediction that I could enjoy Jan Akkerman's music more than I already did. After all, Focus music first hit the scene during my impressionable teenage years, and as a result of his guitar prowess on Tommy and their other hits, Jan Akkerman became guitar hero without equal in my estimation.

I was never fortunate enough to see Jan as part of Focus (indeed I got my first ticket to see the band the very week he left it). However, with Jan now regularly touring the UK previous misfortunes have been more than compensated for. His gig at the Astor Theatre, Deal on 18 March 2005 was a real feast!

The band and the audience

Despite some minor technical problems and an “eventful” journey down to Deal, Jan and band delivered a superb performance. Jan, (although remarking that none of the audience appeared in need of one), opened with “Tranquillizer”. His playing became progressively more intense and impressive as we progressed through the pieces, including Between the Sheep/Sheets, Streetwalker, Blues Route, Kloenk and Slow Man.

Referring to the need to revisit previous “war crimes” Jan treated us mid way through the evening to Hocus Pocus and Sylvia, which were delivered with such energy and drive that I found it impossible to keep my feet still. This was followed by Urban String and Piétons – both dripping with Jan's impressive spiralling lines.

After this performance, had Jan not returned for an encore I fear the floor would have been stomped right through. As it was, the timbers were saved and we were treated to a beautifully played ballad (evidently written by Paul Weller), plus a blues piece featuring some white-hot fretwork.


The encore

Even after this double encore (and indeed after the power had been shut down), the calls continued for more. Jan and band were kind enough to return again and gratify a number of people, including me, prepared to shout themselves hoarse to request “Tommy”. We were rewarded with a beautiful extended rendition. Not only that but Jan followed this up with Pool House Blues before finally leaving the stage.

Having seen Jan 12 times now it is clear to me that, amazingly, his playing actually continues to get even better. True, he has an extremely talented band to support him, but he exceeds my expectations by a wider margin with each successive gig.

Review: Steve Moore
Photo's: Clive Woodley