UK TOUR 2009
Jan and his Band at a New Level
I have just had the fantastic experience of seeing the Jan Akkerman Band
for the entire 7 concerts of their recent U.K. tour.Yes I know.......lucky me!
I was going to maybe do individual reviews of each of the concerts,but what
with getting caught up in just listening,rather than thinking about it ,combined with
quantities of beer, I end up with the "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" syndrome.This of
course means that someone who only goes to one concert can have a full recollection of it,
while I end up not sure which tracks were played in which order on which night. I could
take notes at each concert.But do I want to do this or just listen and enjoy? Come on!
This is Jan Akkerman! Besides,how can you keep track when Jan introduces the next
one to the audience as, "Fluffy, the Salad Slayer!"
The band are now so tight that they are a formidable rythm section in their
own right. On numbers like Blues Route they are awsesome! Even if Jan didn't play those
wonderful solos on this it would still stand up well on its own.They now do a very earthy,
almost primeval at times with its dark chords, version of You do Something to Me. Good
to hear a couple which they hadn't played for a while - Streetwalker at Baby Blue and
Cotton Bay ( a favourite of mine ) at the Half Moon.
So to the Focus numbers and again one which they hadn't played for a
while, Answers Questions. They did a couple of really powerful rocking versions of this.
On Sylvia Jan now plays the ( don't mention the Y word! ) part using tremolo arm.
One track which has been taken to a new level is the now titled, Palace of the King.
With Coen's exotic keyboard and the tango-like tempo it now has a rather Arabic sound
It's not just thir playing to the audience. It's their playing with the audience.
Jan teasing with chords on Piétons. Then veering off in a different direction before
coming back to get you thinking "Will he or won't he go into Hocus Pocus?" When he
eventually does you usually get a few stunned expressions in the audience when he
plays THAT part (again, don't mention the Y word ) tremolo.
Nor is it even just playing with the audience. It's playing with each other.
Jan has often over the years liked catching his band by surprise with twists and turns
in his playing and one of the nights he led Marijn into thinking he was about to finish
a number, so that Marijn did. Jan just started playing again! At the Robin 2 Coen caught
Jan by surprise by playing organ just as he was about to do the tremolo on Hocus
Marijn's power with the discipline of perfect timing, particularly to the
recorded backing rythm on Urban String, is impressive.
Wilbrand's great bass playing
is as solid and rythmic as ever.
Coen's melodic playing and very fine jazz solos are
now an established fixture. Jan's guitar playing remains as truly jaw droppingly
magnificent as ever ! What he does on Anonymous is a master class in timing and
the way he plays Django-esque runs all over the place ( particularly where you least
expect them ) never ceases to amaze me.
From Tango to Django. You do something to me.
Review: Jim Higgins
Photos: Clive Woodley