Ten Years After – Live At “Eltzhof” – Köln, Germany
November 9, 2012
A two hour drive from our house,
the trip there was smooth and with no complications.
To our surprise Lionel (who flew
in to meet us from London) and Anita, who came by train from Berlin were
already there waiting for us at the designated hotel. As we pulled up in
front of a bakery there they were, both with the most radiant smiles that
you’ve ever seen. After spending an hour there we checked into our rooms
to freshen up a little. Then it’s off to the venue which is just a stones
throw away. We pass a restaurant that’s closed and then into another
restaurant right at the venue itself. Time for a late lunch / dinner
before the show, we had the entire place to ourselves. Lionel had a
little unexpected feast for himself, I played it safe with a traditional
German meal, Brigitte and Anita ordered the same entree´. An hour and a
half there, full of good conversation and a lot of fun as always, we live
for these times.
The venue is just across the huge
courtyard. We were watching the bands coming in as they started the
setting up process. It was then that our long evening started rolling. It
was only us, and the bands in the music hall, and for me that’s my
favourite time. I get to talk with the people involved and check out the
vibe of the musicians, long before they play a single note on stage.
Yes, that’s the name of the
opening band, they’re from Holland and they’re extremely young and very
talented. Two brothers started the band and the woman who handles the
merchandise filled me in on what kind of music they played, she informed
me that the drummer is one of the best in the rock music scene today, and
that the bands music is as diverse as the members themselves are. I got
to meet their crazy manager and there’s no doubt that everyone was
serious about their band. They all came across as friendly, happy and
professional. They also had a great sense of humour as well, as I kept
kidding the lead guitarist / singer about his cowboy boots. I told him
they aren’t men’s boots, they’re from the Dale Evans designer collection,
and that he needs Roy Rogers boots! He understood the jest of my comments
and was laughing. People from the Netherlands are so easy going.
Ya Know, for a young band, they
had a shit-load of good equipment – to which I asked them, if it was
stolen or out on loan – everyone laughed, and told me it was all “Hot”
(stolen) but don’t tell anyone. Out came an excellent little drum kit, a
dozen different guitars and then a keyboard with leslies – leslies? I
haven’t seen anyone using them since 1971 when I saw a band called
“Mother Flag and Country” playing in Lake George, New York. This should
be a little different sound. Everyone associated with the band pitched in
to help moving and setting everything up. They made it look so easy, but
trust me – it was a very intricate, fast moving process. The pressure was
The Sound Check:
Ten Years After first, as their
equipment was already set up to the rear of the stage. Everything was ok
before the band came on. But, some problems arose when Leo’s bass
connection was found to be faulty. Then Joe’s problems started. Feedback,
squealing, from the microphone – and sound system. It took quite awhile
before Wolfie got it straightened out.
After watching this, I was
wondering if they got all the foreseeable kinks out before the show
began. Needless to say, they performed no songs all the way through….the
band left it for the technicians to figure out.
DeWolff – Sound Check:
They too had their share of
problems, but nothing really serious. Just faulty connections, things not
plugged in correctly, and the usual mishaps. I was most intrigued with
the lead guitarist and his choice of songs, starting with some southern
rock, then some FREE – “Alright Now” and then some ZZ-Top tunes. Classic
Rock at its best, some Led Zeppelin and others. It also needs to be
pointed out, that this is a three man outfit, and with no bass player,
like the Doors, the bass was done on the keyboards. Their sound-check was
more normal. I was wandering around at will, and in between I was writing
in my notebook. Brigitte, Anita and Lionel all wandered off to go and
look for Peter, Theo, Gaby, Sybille…and the others. After an hour or so, everyone
started coming back.
Not Exactly Organized:
All of our Ten Years After
Friends and Family gatherings have gone along smoothly, but this one
didn’t stand a chance on that level. As everyone arrived at a different
time, and from different directions, we were all on a tight schedule,
just coming in for one night and most leaving in the early morning hours.
This didn’t leave enough time for sitting down for dinner together,
conversing or relaxing with each other, and that was a real shame. We’ll
never do it this way again, so much was lost. Our apology to everyone for
this. We all hit the ground running, right from the
Pre – Concert:
There was a long bench on both
sides and a balcony area upstairs that was closed off to the public, but
our crew all had photo and access all areas passes. Peter, Brigitte and
Anita were all roaming around, taking over 2,500 photos collectively.
Lionel was also scoping out different areas, as I was sitting at a table
about thirty feet from the stage. The doors were opened and people came
rushing in, as the huge hall started filling up very rapidly. As always,
I was wondering just how many people would venture out on this Friday
I would be remiss if I neglected
to point out the fact that the management here as well as the entire
staff were all excellent to us! We can’t thank them enough for all their
help and consideration of our needs. Thank you everyone, you made it a
real pleasure to be there!!!
Also, the room was perfectly the
right size for any event held here. No crowing, no pushing and no
problems at all. Wonderful.
DeWolff – Time To Rock:
A trio, young guys – young men.
With the high energy and passion of a young Grand Funk Railroad, the
finesse of a Rush concert and well versed in their Deep Purple, Doors
classic rock history. I hear some touches of Love and Iron Butterfly in
their mix as well…..but don’t let what I just said, give you any
preconceived notions that this is an elaborate band playing covers of
past success….far from it…..they are uniquely their own style, and on
their own agenda. Refreshing, loud and raw. Most of all, they love what
they do and it shows – it all comes through. I never got the impression
that they were performing, per-say, but that here on stage or in
someone’s garage or basement back in Holland, they’d be playing and
acting the same way. On stage, they’re making a memory, they want to be
remembered. They want to please the audience, enjoy themselves and then
move on. It’s all positive, for it cannot be otherwise. As the years pass
and they become established, they will learn that less is more.
That they don’t have to be in the
on position every minute…the spaces between notes is just as important as
playing in a frenzied fashion.
They went through their set, and
the audience loved them. The band worked hard, made no mistakes and
proved themselves to be contenders in rock and roll. Long may they
Pre – Ten Years After:
Our little group is back together
again for a few moments, enter Peter, Theo and Lionel. Gaby and Sybille,
Brigitte and Anita, Erdme and Diana….Brigitte also informs me that our
friend Sarah is here, somewhere. We haven’t seen her in a long time. She
comes over to our table and is just as friendly as I remembered her, a
lover of good music. I introduce her to other friends that she hasn’t had
the pleasure of meeting yet, of course I forget who she knows and who she
doesn’t, but that works itself out quickly. Sarah is the newest member of
our family of friends, and I really enjoy talking with her, she’s bright
/ knowledgeable, as well as a collector of records recorded in mono. I
suggest that she buy the “Beatles Butcher” album, to which she laughed
and said, “do you have any idea how much that one cost?) We both agree, a
I told her the story of the
Butcher Cover. It’s very simple really, but to the people living in
Europe, it’s an unknown fact. The Beatles albums made in England may have
14 tracks on them, but by the time they reach America, many of the
original songs have been removed, so the ones we bought in the States may
have only 10 tracks. In short, the record company got three records from
two releases. The company “Butchered” their albums and the Beatles were
so pissed off about that, as much as we ourselves were. So that was their
revenge – against their goody-goody image! For example: In 1964, on the
“Hard Days Night Soundtrack,” songs were replaced by instrumentals from
George Martin – like “This Boy” (Ringo’s Theme Song). Sarah listened
intently, always eager to learn, as much as I enjoy explaining these
obscure facts. I only wish she could explain to me the value of Mono
Recordings, as to why she searches for these items. As a ten year old and
into my teenage years, I was more than happy to ditch the old mono
recordings for the new stereo records….I can’t imagine listening to Led
Zeppelin Two in a mono format.
The Main Attraction -21:30
- Ten Years After. Walk on stage to
a thunderous applause.
Set List: I’m Coming On – King of
the Blues – Hear Me Calling – Angry Words – Big Black 45 – 50,000 Miles
Beneath My Brain – Working On The Road – The Hobbit – Love Like A Man –
I’d Love To Change The World – Good Morning Little School Girl (Leo Bass
Solo) I Can’t Keep From Crying
Sometimes – I’m Going Home – (Encore) – Choo Choo Mama
Ten Years After, are the heroes
of DeWolff, and the band members are in the audience with us. The members
on stage are really into this evenings concert, and the opening band was
one of the best we have seen, a perfect match for TYA. The band opens
with “I’m Coming On,” and by the second number, they’re in the groove,
showing the younger band how to really get it on! Although not
intentionally making a point of it, TYA are just doing what they do best.
The audience is moving towards
the stage, in order to get a better look. While the rest of us already in
place, settle in for the musical ride we’re on. Joe, as always, is very
active on stage, roaming from Chick to Ric and towards Leo, thus
acknowledging his colleagues. Joe is the motivator, as has been the case
from his start in the band. Only now, the entire band has solidified into
a unified, tight-knit, cohesive unit. They go through their songs, with
the same integrity and passion as ever. I’m sure that I couldn’t do it
this well, if I were in their shoes. There was a special surprise that
happened right after Ric's "Hobbit" drum solo. Today was Anita's
birthday, and Ric knowing this, took the time to wish Anita a happy
birthday during his stage announcements. It
made her face and ears totally red with embarrassment but she also loved
every minute of it. She deserved the attention for being one of the most
loyal Ten Years After fans that we have ever met!
In short, they are so good on so
many different levels, and that’s what makes Ten Years After exemplarity!
The Audience Were The Stars:
To me, there’s nothing better
than watching an excellent band on stage, with an audience that’s there
for the same reason, and with everyone in unity / harmony and in balance.
A brilliant vibration in the
room. As I look around behind me, at all the happy faces in attendance,
and as far back as I’m able to see. As the concert progresses, no one is
standing still, everyone is moving, dancing, swaying along with the
music. I watch Leo, as he’s looking out over the audience, and he’s very
pleased….as Joe is smiling at the audience….as Ric and Chick – in their
own way showing respect to the audience….and when this mutual affection
happens, it’s totally magical experience.
Family and Friends:
Lionel comes and goes, he wanders
around the venue, soaking in everything he can. I’m sure that like me,
he’s engraving everything into his memory bank. As I said before, we live
for these moments, our time here (at the concert) and in life in general,
is so very limited.
We refuse to miss a minute of it.
Brigitte, Anita and Peter are up in the balcony, taking photos for our
website, capturing these blessed moments for all of us to enjoy anytime.
Theo, who is usually standing in front of the stage (where he started
tonight) is now sitting down at the other end of the long bench, watching
the stage from there. The others are scattered throughout the audience.
At my table Sarah and I are enjoying the music, as we wave to our friends
up in the balcony….but where did Peter go? Oh, there he is, up above the
band, actually behind them, on the walk-way looking down with his camera.
It’s so funny, every time I look up there, the three of them keep
changing positions. Busy beavers they are!
I also would like to point out,
everyone’s respect for the band includes, not using any flash while
taking pictures. This is also because the band never insist on any
restrictions from us.
In my opinion, you have to
respect a band who trust you to do the right thing, while they’re
“I’m Going Home”, yes the most
well known Ten Years After song, 1968-2012 - 44 years old now and it
still has the exact same affect on any audience who hears it. Simply
The essence of Ten Years After
has nothing at all to do with the song itself, and everything to do with
the bands positive attitude on stage, and their attitude of respect
towards their audience during their performance. The song is just the
icing on the cake.
The Encore is Choo Choo Mama,
and the audience loves that too. Afterwards, the band and audience are
both exhausted….the perfect ending…rock and roll as it should be.
The soul of rock and roll is
still alive and well, the heart of rock and roll is still beating!
Catching One’s Breath:
What an experience. The audience
disperses as friends return. We re-group for a few minutes, have a quick
drink and then its autograph time with the band. The energy still
radiating, like heat from a sidewalk on a hot summers night. Positive
Vibrations to be sure. I’m very aware of these things, the people I
observe express it, their faces show it.
Once again I meet up with the
members of the opening band, and others in the venue.
I watched as the stage was
stripped down and equipment removed…returning everything to the way it
was three hours previous. It becomes like a beautiful dream.
The entire group of us ended up
backstage with the band. I don’t know why but it seemed very chaotic,
although Ric welcomed me and I helped myself to a sandwich and a
coka-cola there was an excess amount of energy in there. This energy
increased when the “photo-takers” insisted on capturing the band and our
little family of friends for posterity purposes.
After another twenty minutes, it
was time to leave and move on to our next stop.
Let’s gather up the sheep and get
the flock out of here!
One Bar – Two Bar – Three Bar –
Lionel and I walk out with Sarah,
she heads towards the train station, and we start looking for the bar
where we’re suppose to meet. Brigitte and Anita and others are already
there, Ric and Leo come in shortly afterwards. Roughly there are twelve
of us, in this wimpy little bar, and we’re all crammed into one end of
the place. Cosy. It’s our pleasure to have Ric, Leo and Wolfie with
us, and our friends enjoying themselves. The hotel is about fifty feet
away, we can all roll home from this bar. The night does come to a happy
ending, everyone is satisfied and we’re all expecting sweet dreams to
greet us. No such luck.
Sleepless in Köln:
Our room was so dry and warm that
it was hard to breathe. I got up very early which was a blessing. At 5:45
I was sitting in the dinning room, and was told that I could help myself
to breakfast, as everything was set up…fresh and delicious. After an hour
Lionel arrived, I thought that he would be gone by now, but he
over-slept. He had a quick coffee while he waited for his taxi to come. I
was so happy to see him, because I now had the chance to say a proper
good-bye to my friend. Lionel, who took the time and invested the money
in order to make the trip from London to Germany, to come and see us and
the band. You couldn’t meet a nicer man or have a better friend. I
relayed this exact message to him before he left the hotel. Kind of heavy
for 7:30 in the cold light of day…he understood me perfectly.
Always sad to say good-bye.
I continued with my breakfast,
then Anita appeared, about 8:00. I wanted to talk with her too.
I thanked her for coming and
wanted to make sure that she had a good time, and that she was alright
getting home. Ahh Anita – we of the “elder groupie” clan - Thank You!
here on, guest of the hotel started
waking up and coming down for breakfast. Then Brigitte, Peter, Theo, Leo, Ric,
Sybille…Joe, Wolfie and Chick arrived in no special order.
Thank You Leo and Ric:
At breakfast, Ric joined us for a
while. He answered our questions, told us about his new band called, “Ric
Lee’s Natural Born Swingers”.
As loyal fans, we get the best of
both worlds. We are able to see more of them, and of course we support
everything they do. As for Ric, he has an excellent memory (like a steel
trap, he forgets nothing)…thank goodness for us and our website.
Enter Leo, who was sitting with
Peter, Theo and Joe. Now we have the pleasure of his presence and
undivided attention. were fortunate enough to have his company for
well over an hour. It was a great conversation, where we all interacted
and shared information. My impression is that Leo enjoyed himself as much
as we did. These special moments are precious indeed.
The Last Goodbye’s
The only ones left were:
Brigitte, Sybille, Theo, Peter and myself.
This has been a hell of a year
for Brigitte and I, I’m sure that the others have not had it easy either,
but for all of us, our lives are a little better and brighter now. These
people who we spend our time with on these outstanding occasions mean the
world to us. After the tragic loss of Herb, we learned to take nothing
for granted. We keep our friends and family close at heart. Once a year,
or when ever realistically possible, we gather as a group…in order to
refresh, relax and pamper our souls. To all the people close to
us…..thank you for everything.
Love from Brigitte and Dave