TEN YEARS AFTER at Gulfhaus, Vechta - 13 April 2007


Photo by B&D






FRIDAY APRIL 13, 2007  

The Journey:

Started out much later than we intended or expected 6:00 on a beautiful spring day. Headed to Osnabruck to pick up our friend and travelling confidant Reinhard who offered to drive us from his house to the concert. It’s little over an hour on the autobahn, but locating the venue turned out to be more of a challenge as we kept passing the street that leads right to the place. After a few circles around the area, and driving in a holding pattern, we finally came to roost in a parking lot just a few short steps away from the main entrance. 


The main room holds not a soul more than 400 and it was now at 450 human sardines all lined up in a row anticipating a rock n´ roll show. No place to sit, even standing so tight elbow to elbow wasn’t very pleasant, but we managed to work our way from the left side of the room to the right, where we were now promptly stuck at an improvised table counter (bar) that serves beer. From here, my two concert colleagues slithered into the next available corner for shelter. I was stuck lugging our bags, which were now wrapped around two different fans feet and legs, Brigitte came to the rescue and lead me into the promised (land) corner – thankful but still stuck and uncomfortable…I decided to carve out a little space right on the corner of the stage.

From this vantage point I got to watch the opening band in action – YOUNG & GREY  

The Opening Act:

“Young and Grey” opened with the Georgia Satellites song “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” – some John Fogerty “Hurricane” and a few other now classic tunes designed to warm up an already hot and sweltering audience. The guitarist did some bottleneck slide, the singer was high energy and the drummer kept everyone honest, pushing everything right along at break-neck speed, the bass player was to my far left, so his contribution could be heard more than seen. Their entire set was a good preface for what was to follow.  

Break Down / Set Em´ Up Again:

Every time there’s an opening act, there’s problems getting the headliner on the bill up and running. Every thing has to be reconnected, readjusted, re-tuned and recalibrated all over again. Tom Lyons was all over the stage along with Wolfie trying to get Ten Years After ready for take off and into their stellar flight groove position.

As I sat there watching this stage activity, all of the sudden a black cloud passed overhead and it was getting darker by the second……I now had a roof over my head, Chick’s keyboard had arrived. Cords and cables all over the place – half on the carpet and half on the wooden stage floor, I could see that Chick would be having a difficult time with his pedal foot-work, and sure enough that proved to be the case. Sound problems – Wolfie jumped right on it and got everything up and running in short order. All in all – it really came together rather quickly, all things being considered.

TYA In Concert Once Again:
Worshiping at Mr. Churchill’s feet. 

The room is darkened, pre-recorded music starts coming from the P.A. system and here comes the members of TYA walking languidly. Chick steps over to take up his position and starts kicking the loose cables under his feet right away and adjusting his foot pedal. He hasn’t seen me taking up residence under his trusted Roland Keyboard yet so I decided to give him a little tug on his blue jeans just to make him aware of my presence, but he thinks it’s some over zealous fan who’s going to make his life a living hell throughout the entire show, as he quickly snips back “What's going on here?” –  I raise my hand to shake his and flash him a smile from down under!

The rest of the concert for me was viewed from that vantage point, Chick’s knees and subtle foot work – looking up at Joe who now looks like a massive figure to me wailing that axe over head,  to Leo who spots me when the bright lights come up and shoots me a big happy Leo smile and a nod of approval. Ric is blinded between lights and equipment, so that I can see him perfectly but he’s unable to catch my presence around Chick’s ankles.

50,000 miles opens up the set, Hear Me Callin´ King Of The Blues, Big Black 45, Love Like A Man, Can’t Keep From Cryin´ Sometimes, Angry Voices and Time To Kill puts everything into motion. But as the band is in perfect balance it’s the audience who’s the real stars – standing for a two hour show, all eyes focused towards the stage, and their attention rotating in colourful splendour from one fantastic musician to another, in systematic succession. Brigitte and Reinhard moved to take up positions in the narrow upper loft area, far better for picture taking as is evident from Brigitte’s photos  that complement this review.

The concert was in TYA’s  upper 90 percentile, for passion, energy and overall presentation. As they kept the audience entertained and enthralled throughout the entire proceedings.  

As many times as we’ve witnessed the magic of  Ten Years After I’m still fascinated to see it in action, the charisma and their interaction with the fans. On stage and off, what you see is what you get – the best of everything.  

Backstage Area:

After the show and following their meet and greet session, Ric invites us backstage. A nice size room for a change, and we can see that the promoters have supplied them with enough drinks and food to satisfy their needs – and hungry and thirsty they are. Joe and Chick make a quick get away in about ten minutes, but before that I get the chance to personally tell Chick just how sorry we are about the recent passing of his mother. We never had the chance to meet the woman, but she was kind enough to allow us access to her personal collection of her sons music history, for use on our website…and through Chick had the chance to thank her very much indeed. Her passing is so recent (just a week or two before) that Chick is still very emotional, saddened and still in mourning. He told us, “she has been ill and fading for a long time”. While it may have been expected it’s still a shock to loose a loved one, and as I told Chick – mothers can’t be replaced, we only get one special woman in our life, the ones who come later, carry on as surrogate substitutes. 

It’s my opinion that his mother was his biggest supporter, and constant thread throughout his life and career.   Peace be to your mother Chick and may your sorrow pass quickly in understanding and knowing.

As Chick returns to the hotel, Leo and I have a chance to chat a little – it was sunny and warm in Nashville he says, then the temperature bottomed out and ice entered, while a noreaster was now hitting my folks back home and this hasn’t happened in April since 1992….while I explain to Leo that I’m already on my second lawn cutting here in Germany – and as I’m writing this we’re in the mist of a 80 to 90 degree heat wave reminiscent or July or August. Winter in New York, ice in Nashville and springtime in Deutschland – what a concept.

Leo and I then switch to the ugly power poles back in the states that are so damn vulnerable to power outages – I point out that here the power supply runs under ground and just how smart is that I ask him – brilliant idea I say. His reply is typical Leo, straight and factual – America is a very young country while Europe is century’s ahead and ancient…about a half dozen centuries more and America will catch up.

This led us into fibber-optics and eventually back into the history of Ten Years After…we do cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

I really love listening to Leo, Ric and Chick talk about the history of the band, meaning their experiences on stage, on the road, as friends and band-mates – along with the people they’ve met over the years, people who are now legendary  figures to us common mortals but contemporaries to them, who lived through the 1960’s and 1970’s and survived to tell their tale. In the past few years and our chance to get to know the guys on a personal level, I’m enthralled to just listen to them banter back and forth on different topics.
For example: A topic of something or other will begin, such as I’ll ask a question about say Keith Moon, Graham Bond, Jimi Hendrix, Jack Bruce …. Then, if they’re all standing within ear-shot they all join into the conversation with memories galore to offer into the mix.

Then the fun starts when their memories collide in different forms, and the stories have different facts (lost, misplaced or re-adjusted by time and over the years – there’s no malice of forethought here, Christ, it was a life time ago now, I’m surprised that they can remember as much as they do).  But, while one memory may differ from another and another, in the end they reach a workable solution and factual time-line, and to me that’s magic.

On this night I inquire about Leo’s book, only to be reminded that he has a great many irons in the fire at any given time. Leo is a workaholic, he looks for different ways to vent his artistic nature and his gift of artistic perfection. He looks for solutions to problems and he sticks with it until resolved.

Talking with Leo, you can see just how fast his thought process is, how deep his knowledge goes (really unfathomable) and his ability to be precise and factual – shifting gears from sharp witty humour – slightly sarcastic when needs be, and intense and serious as hell underneath  that smiling cowboy alter ego façade  of his. 

Band Books:

If all five members of Ten Years After each wrote a book, you’d have a shit-load of incredible stories. You could compare them, dissect them individually and then put them back together again….each one would represent a different aspect of the person and the band as a whole entity. Although I’d love the idea of this total aspect concept – in the end I’d draw the same conclusion – “Let The Music Do The Talking”. 

Ric Lee is trying to eat and drink while answering questions from all around the room. He’s as quick as Leo but besides having the same band experiences he also carries the burden / responsibility of TYA NOW with him at all times. Teacher, Drummer, Manager, Husband Father and general cook and bottle washer, he does it all.

Back to Leo, we continue our chat for a another ten minutes or so, and in between Reinhardt is talking with Ric , asking questions and comparing notes about different drummers, concerts and festivals. When a nice looking woman enters and thanks the band for coming and a job well done, introduces herself to Brigitte and I and then exits just as fast as she came. 

Then Wolfie says “time to go” and this little rap session has ended just as fast as it started. As always, our thanks to TYA for another great concert and for allowing us into their world.

We will see them again tomorrow night.















 Photos and Film by B&D



Ein perfekter Abend auch ohne Alvin Lee
Woodstock-Legende Ten Years After begeistert 400 Zuhörer im Vechtaer Gulfhaus / Handgemachter Bluesrock

Den Blues im Blut: Bassist und Gründungsmitglied Leo Lyons und der neue Gitarrist und Sänger von Ten Years After, Joe Gooch, begeisterten das Publikum im Gulfhaus. Foto: Suffner

Von Ulrich Suffner, Vechta -

Ten Years After ohne Alvin Lee? Ist das nicht so etwas wie die Stones ohne Mick Jagger? 400 Rockfans stellen sich diese Frage, als sie am Freitagabend zu den Klängen der sehr ordentlichen Vechtaer Vorband „Young & Grey“ das Gulfhaus betreten. Die Zweifel der Fans verfliegen schon nach den ersten Gitarrenriffs. Joe Gooch, der erst 29-jährige neue Bandleader ist weit mehr als ein Ersatz für Woodstock-Legende Lee. Ten Years After, Kultband der frühen 70er, ist auch im Jahr 2007 jeden Cent Eintritt wert.
Gooch drückt der vor 40 Jahren gegründeten Bluesrockband einen modernen Stempel auf. Das merken auch die in Würde ergrauten Rockveteranen im Publikum, die vor dem unverhofften Woodstock-Revival im heimischen Jugendzentrum noch schnell einmal die alten Schallplatten durchgehört haben. Goochs Finger sind vielleicht nicht ganz so flink wie die des „schnellsten Rockgitarristen aller Zeiten“, aber die Soli des Londoners sind wunderbar flüssig, seine Instrumental-Duelle mit Organist Chick Churchill oder Bassist Leo Lyons sind mehr als aufregend und seine Stimme ist, wenn auch weicher als jene von Lee, ganz sicher nicht weniger leidenschaftlich. Vor der Bühne wird vom ersten bis zum letzten Song durchgezappelt und so mancher Altrocker auf der Galerie des Gulfhauses hat Pipi in den Augen.
Knapp zwei Stunden wird handgemachter Bluesrock zelebriert, ohne technischen Schnickschnack, so dass einem die berühmte Feststellung von Jethro-Tull-Frontman Ian Anderson wieder in den Sinn kommt: Rockmusik sei im Grunde genommen nichts anderes als elektrisch verstärkte Energie. Die TYA-Gründungsmitglieder Ric Lee, Chick Churchill und der stets freundlich grinsende Leo Lyons sehen das genauso. Lee bearbeitet sein Schlagzeug wie am jüngsten Tag, insbesondere bei einem fulminaten Solo. Gemeinsam mit Bassist Lyons zimmert er ein unumstößliches Fundament für Goochs nicht nur technisch atemberaubende Soli. Etwas abseits bearbeitet Chick Churchill seine Orgel, wie es ein Rocker tun sollte, rhythmisch, hart, vorantreibend.
Die Engländer spielen die alten Klassiker mit jugendlicher Frische: „Good morning, little school girl“, „I'd love to change the world“ oder „Love like a man“. Aber auch die neuen Songs des Comeback-Albums „Now“ aus 2004 bejubelt das Publikum. Diese Wiederbelebung ist gelungen. Bleibt noch das unvermeidliche Finale. „Goin’ Home“, der größte Hit der Band, der auf dem Woodstock-Film verewigt den Ruhm von Ten Years After begründete. Rasant und souverän wechselt der klassische Bluesrock-Vierer für die letzten Minuten auf die Überholspur, gefolgt vom berauschten Publikum.
Alvin Lee soll sich derzeit an spanischen Stränden mit Fusion-Projekten und afrikanischen Trommlern die Zeit vertreiben. Dort soll er bleiben. TYA aber sollen wiederkommen. Vielleicht schauen auch andere Legenden mal auf der Zitadelle vorbei. Die 400 Leute von Freitag wären erneut dabei, wenn das Gulfhaus rockt wie in besten Zeiten.

© Oldenburgische Volkszeitung Druckerei und Verlag KG


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