Archive for the ‘Leslie West’ Category

Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988

Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988
nightofguitarstixNo Speak was an instrumental-only record label, founded by Miles Copeland in 1988. To complement the release of the label’s Guitar Speak album, Copeland organized a week-long “Night Of The Guitars” British tour with many of its featured artists. The line-up was truly stellar, and featured Copeland as Master of Ceremonies and the following guitarists: Randy California (Spirit), Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band), Steve Howe (Yes), Steve Hunter (ex Lou Reed band), Robby Krieger (Doors), Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Andy Powell & Ted Turner (Wishbone Ash), and Leslie West (Mountain). Each guitarist played a few songs of their own, backed by a “house band”. Highlights were Randy California playing “Hey Joe”, Powell & Turner with “The King Will Come”, Steve Howe performing “The Clap” and Leslie West with “Theme from an Imaginary Western”. But best of all was Robby Krieger who was introduced as the star of the show and played an impeccable version of the Doors “Love me Two Times”.
The London gig was recorded and the album contains the songs below. The show I attended featured a similar set.
Pete Haycock & Steve Hunter – Dr Brown I presume, The Idler, Lucienne
Randy California – Groove Thing, Hey Joe
Robby Krieger – Love me Two Times
Ted Turner & Andy Powell – The King will Come
Leslie West – Theme from an Imaginary Western, Never in my Life
Steve Howe – Clap Medley, Wurm
Alvin Lee – No Limit, Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’
Everyone on stage for – All Along the Watchtower and a rock’n’roll medley including Whole Lotta Shakin’ , Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Johnny B. Goode, Rock and Roll Music & Bye Bye Johnny

Leslie West and Del Bromham Newcastle Opera House 21st April 2004

Leslie West and Del Bromham Newcastle Opera House 21st April 2004
lesliewestAn evening with two great guitarists and two heroes of mine. The ticket lists the support act as Stray, but it was actually their frontman Del Bromham on a solo outing, as was Leslie West. The concert was in the bistro bar (again, the ticket doesn’t quite match this as it lists a seat number, which suggests that the concert was originally intended for the main hall, and moved into the more intimate setting of the bistro, perhaps to reflect ticket sales).
Leslie West was quite a regular visitor to the North East at the time, with his band Mountain, who often played the Opera House. This particular event featured West alongside the guitarist from Sheryl Crow’s band, Todd Wolfe. Leslie had just released his “Blues To Die For” solo album and likewise, Del had recorded his first solo album, “The Devil’s Highway”.
delDel opened the show with a set of songs from “Devil’s Highway” which is a blues-based album with a combination of old songs which Del remembered from his childhood and some self-penned songs in the style of the old blues masters. He also threw in song Stray favourites. A great opportunity to see a legend close up and an excellent start to the evening. “In the late 60s the first wave of heavy guitar idols were usually Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. Bromham’s past work should be reappraised as he clearly slipped through the net.” (Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 2002)
Leslie West has a unique guitar style, which can effortlessly move from the sweetest, gentlest tone to the deepest heaviest rock. His advice to Joe Bosso on MusicRadar (2011): “Tune your guitar. So many people who don’t like their sound aren’t in tune. So tune your damn guitar already, that’s the first thing. After that, take off any effects you have going on. lesliePlay straight into the amp. That’s the only way to do it. Work with your hands. Play right into that amp. You’ll find a sound. It might take time – a couple of years or whatever – but that’s all right. The important thing is to get there.” “West was affectionately nicknamed “The King of Tone” by his legions of fans, referring to his influential and world-renowned guitar tone” (WikiPedia). Leslie’s set was a mix of blues from his current album and a few Mountain classics. In 2011 Leslie West had his lower right leg amputated as a result of complications from diabetes. He continues to play and tour, although he hasn’t visited the UK in recent years.
This was a great opportunity to see two legends close up. The following night I was back in the Opera House with a group of mates to see the late great Alvin Lee, with Edgar Winter and Tony McPhee. Happy days 🙂

Mountain Newcastle City Hall 2 Feb 1972 (and 2002, and 2003)

mountainMountain Newcastle City Hall 2 Feb 1972 (and 2002, and 2003)
My friend John is over from the USA this week, and he is a big Mountain fan, so for today’s post I thought I would cover the first time I saw Mountain, which was back in 1972. Support that night came from the Jimmy McCulloch Band. I remember that I arrived early for the gig, specifically to catch Jimmy. I’d seen him the year before at the City Hall when he was a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. He’d left Mayall to form his own band which was initially called Bent Frame, and by this stage was known as The Jimmy McCulloch Band. I remember being once again impressed by how bluesy and technically good this young guy was. The next time I was to see Jimmy was as a member of Stone The Crows, who he joined a few months later. They had been a rumour around before this gig, that Mountain’s bass player Felix Papalardi was unwell and that his place was to be taken by Jack Bruce. I don’t know how true the rumour was, but on the night Felix was in place, and the line up of Mountain was the classic line up of Leslie West on guitar, Felix on bass, Corky Laing on drums and Bruce Knight on keyboards. Mountain were just great. Leslie is a giant of a man, lumbering around the stage with his Gibson slung low across his knees. The music was very LOUD, and very heavy, with Leslie’s unique guitar style and tone riding across the top. The set included Mountain classics such as: Crossroader; Nantucket Sleighride; and Mississippi Queen, and great covers like Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven and Jack Bruce’s Theme from an Imaginary Western. I remember being surprised when I began to hear Nantucket Sleighride as the theme for the UK TV show Weekend World. I saw Mountain a couple of times some 30 years or so later, and saw West Bruce and Laing a year or so afterwards, but the best time that I saw Leslie and Mountain was definitely that night in 1972. The programme scan is of a copy from the previous year (thanks John). The Tyne Theatre tickets are from Mountain shows in 2002 and 2003. It was great to see Leslie and Mountain at the Tyne Theatre after so many years, and the shows were both memorable, featuring all the old classics. Leslie’s guitar playing was as good as ever, and Corky Laing was there on drums, Felix having sadly passed away in 1983. The great Stray were support at one of those gigs. Leslie hasn’t been so well, and hasn’t made it over to the UK for a few years now, but is still playing in the US.

Thanks to my friend, the aforementioned John, who has recently added the great psychedelic Mountain poster for the tour, which you can see at the top left of this post, to his fantastic collection of memorabilia.


West, Bruce and Laing Newcastle City Hall 1973

West, Bruce and Laing Newcastle City Hall 1973
Now that WAS a rock band. Take Mountain guitar genius Leslie West, Cream super bassist Jack Bruce and powerhouse (also from Mountain) drummer Corky Laing, and you were certain to produce a great band. I’d seen Mountain the year before and had been blown away by Leslie West’s unique guitar style which moved effortlessly from very very heavy to gentle and beautiful. Mountain were very obviously influenced by Cream who I had sadly never seen (this was to be remedied many years later at their Albert Hall reunion), so I along with many others looked forward to see this power trio. My mate John and I went along to the gig, which proved to be just as good as I imagined, the set drawn from the West, Bruce and Laing album, and the Cream and Mountain back catalogue. John was a major Mountain fan, was very excited about the show and remembers it as one of the many highlights from that period in that venue.I can still picture Leslie, a giant of a man, with a Les Paul Jnr. slung low around his knees, wringing out the riffs. Great days. I was ecstatic when they closed with Sunshine of Your Love. It will be great to see Jack Bruce on Saturday. Hope he plays Theme from an Imaginary Western which Mountain also used to play (note afterwrds; Yes he did play it).   Makes me think about Leslie who hasn’t been so well lately. Hope you’re OK big man; you also gave us some great nights in the Tyne Theatre where Jack will be on Saturday. I also looked up support Jimmy Stevens. I can’t pretend to remember his set from that gig almost 40 years ago, but he is an interesting guy, who toured with the Bee Gees, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer and was managed by Robert Stigwood at the time. He still plays in his home town on Liverpool. John remembers West, Bruce and Laing playing Why Dontcha, Pleasure, Love is with the blues, Third Degree, The Doctor, the bass solo Powerhouse Sod, Sunshine of Your Love, Politician, and possibly Mississippi Queen and Theme form an Imaginary Western. He recalls somebody, Leslie or Jack, wearing Red Platform sole boots and going out to buy some the following week! Thanks to John for the poster scan.