American of London goes metal for a night….sort of

When my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go see a show at the Royal Albert Hall, I thought sure thing. Definitely. I don’t even care what or why, but yes. The Royal Albert Hall in London is one of the most stunning venues. The Cure recently played a three and a half hour long set there for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It’s a stage for epic (and I’m using the word ‘epic’ here literally) shows and over-the-top displays of music feats.

Last Friday my boyfriend and I were given two tickets to see the Sunflower Jam’s tribute to Jon Lord. As it turns out, the show I so eagerly agreed to go to featured Bruce Dickinson, Rick Wakeman and Jeremy Irons. Not exactly what I leap over fences for, but there was one name on that list that made me squeal like the little fan girl I am: Paul Weller. The British Modfather himself.

The first half of the show, though, really was meant to show off the talents of Mr. Lord himself. Lord passed away in 2012 from pancreatic cancer. The Sunflower Jam works” towards providing access for all to complimentary and integrated treatments in the fight against cancer and other diseases by funding and supporting research, treatment and education.” The night, although about a man who had cancer, was anything but somber. It was a night of ponytails, suits and Deep Purple t-shirts. Although known as the pianist and organist in some of history’s most iconic songs, his compositions as a composer are breath-taking.

The Orion Orchestra, conducted by the wonderful Paul Mann, were fantastic. Lord’s music was so dramatic that it’s almost enough to take your breath away.

The second act opened with my god, Paul Weller. A man at 55 never looked so good. Weller began the ‘rock’ part of the night by playing some of Lord’s early music with the band Artwood Combo. His stay was ever so brief, but those few minutes were fantastic. The whole night would prove to pull of musicians who really. truly knew how to command a stage.

I’ve never really been into metal music or heavy rock. But at one brief moment in my life, when I was fourteen I was one of two (yes two) keyboardists in a metal cover band called Celestial Spheres. But when Bruce Dickinson and Glen Hughes got on stage, the ponytails were let loose, curly hair flew and metal heads of all ages began to swing their heads. It’s strange being an outsider at a concert of die-hard fans, but the magic of the music was not lost at all for me. I couldn’t help but smile watching the joy of the people around me. You don’t have to like music even to appreciate happiness.

By the time Deep Purple had gotten on stage, the concert was already clocking in over two hours. My ass hurt and my bladder was

expecting. When they finally hit ‘Hush’ as an encore with the entire ensemble, it sounded fantastic but I felt dead like a beaten horse.

The night ended up being completely worth it. Although it might not have been exactly what I want in a concert, I saw a show that I normally wouldn’t and could appreciate and enjoy it all. Jon Lord has now been added to a list of musicians and humans that I admire. After all, that was who the whole night was really about.

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Forgive me for the extremely long break. My second semester of grad school is finally winding now. Four months now lay ahead of me filled with independent work. My project will be several articles about the re-emergence of ‘vintage acts’ and how that affects modern music so look out for some of my work on that!

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