Archive for the ‘Elf’ Category

Johnny Winter New Victoria Theatre London 26th October 1974

Johnny Winter New Victoria Theatre London 26th October 1974
johnnywinterI was very sad to hear of the passing yesterday of the great Johnny Winter.
Johnny Winter was an incredible blues guitarist, an amazing performer, and a spectacular rock’n’roll star. He looked great, played and sang impeccable electric blues, and his performance was like being caught in a whirlwind.
The first time I saw Johnny Winter live was at a concert at the New Victoria Theatre, London in 1974. I went with my friend John, and it seemed quite an adventure travelling all the way to London for a concert. I’d been to a few festivals and one day events, but I think this was the first time I had travelled to the capital for a single artist concert in a theatre. Support came from Elf, who were fronted by Ronnie James Dio, but it was Winter we had gone to see. The concert was sold out and we had seats up in the circle, looking down on the stage. I recall that Johnny Winter was late coming on stage, but boy was he worth waiting for. This was Johnny the young rock’n’roll bundle of energy and fire (he will have been 30 at the time, but he still looked young and sharp to us). He wore a flash cowboy shirt shirt with long tassels flowing from the arms, and he twisted, twirled and ran around the stage, his incredibly long white hair swirling around him under his cowboy hat, while he sht fire-fast riffs from his trademark Gibson Firebird. johnnywinterposterWinter was every inch pure rock’n’roll energy; the renegade electric cowboy, playing dark and fast music from the delta. Flanked by fellow ace guitarist Rick Derringer, Johnny Winter and his band rocked through a set of blues, his own tracks including the ace “Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo” (written by Derringer), great covers of the Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Honky Tonk Women”, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven, and Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally”. He was simply stunning and we were blown away.
Philip Norman wrote in The Times of the concert at the time: “Johnny Winter has long white hair and sleeves with red streamers like abandoned conjuring-tricks; his legs are as slim as the caddis-fly’s and, like that nervous insect, he lives in electric storms…effect is not calculated by mere voltage; there was something breathtaking …in this unrepentant chaos”
johnnnywinterlpJohn’s memories of the concert: “I first got into Johnny Winter after listening to one of the many great lives albums from the early 70’s Johnny Winter and Live. As I recall he did not tour the UK much and certainly no out in the provinces, so when we saw the date in London, we decided to go.The tour was to promote the recently release Still Alive and Well which was recorded after one of his many periods of ill health.The setlist included the title rack and I think Silver Train (the B side from Angie? by the Stones). He did a lot of covers and seemed to especially like the Stones. But the stand out track was his own blues tour de force Mean Town Blues, which remains one of my favorite live cuts from that period to this day.”
Thanks to John for his image of the album of the time and for the photo of his poster which he bought at the concert that night in 1974.
RIP Johnny Winter.

Deep Purple Newcastle Odeon 1974

Deep Purple Newcastle Odeon 1974
Support from Elf
So Deep Purple returned to the North East with a new line-up. Ian Gillan and Roger Glover had departed and in came local lad David Coverdale, who hailed from Saltburn, on vocals and Glenn Hughes, from Trapeze, on bass and vocals. The gig had sold out pretty quickly, which was some achievement given the changes in the band and the fact that they had graduated from the City Hall to the larger capacity Odeon. I went along with a group of mates, with some trepidation; I just couldn’t imagine how the new guys were going to fit it, and live up to the huge reputation that was Deep Purple. Support came from Elf, who featured Ronnie James Dio on vocals, and delivered an impressive set. Purple had released the new album Burn, and one of mates had bought it. We’d all listened to it and agreed that it was pretty good. The Deep Purple we all experienced that night was easily on par with its predecessor. They exploded onto the stage with “Burn”; Coverdale was on fire, Blackmore was his old self, Jon was attacking his organ, Hughes added a more soulful dimension to the vocals, and Ian Paice provided the solid back beat. I have a theory that bands can find great strength at times of change. I’ve seen it happen a couple of other times: when Genesis came back without Gabriel is another example. Deep Purple came back stronger than ever, and the strength of the songs on Burn helped. Mistreated, Might just take your life, and Burn itself are all very powerful songs. Setlists from the time show the set as being: Burn; Might Just Take Your Life; Lay Down, Stay Down; Mistreated; Smoke on the Water; You Fool No One; The Mule; Space Truckin’. Encore: Going Down; Highway Star. My friend John sent me his own recollections of the gig: “For years I though this was the City Hall; I had a great seat near the front. They played Burn and Mistreated from the new album which were great plus I think Might Just Take your life, You Fool No One and Lay Down Stay Down. Burn was the starting track, Mistreated was the highlight for me and think they played Highway Star, Space Trucking and presumably Smoke on the Water.Support was Elf with Rockin Ronnie. Remember Glenn Hughes had really long hair – had seen him once before in Trapeze.”
It was all of 11 years until I saw Deep Purple again. I didn’t see the Tommy Bolin line-up; they toured the UK but didn’t play the North East, although a show at Middlesbrough Town Hall (which would have been a home-coming show for David Coverdale) was rumoured but, to my knowledge, never happened.