About 1000 people came to the not completely sold out Linköping Concert Hall on Thursday, and it wouldn't surprise me if more came for Gary than for Bill W. At least I heard Gary's name commented on most frequently among the audience before the concert (though Albert Lee certainly attracted a lot of people too). The set list was quite different from Amsterdam – starting off with a rocking Let The Good Times Roll.
Gary was a little bit in the background during the first half of show – no piano solos etc. Maybe he was put off by the fact that he was spelled 'Gary Brocker' of 'Procul Harum' on the poster.
Georgie Fame was more prominent; he has a special relationship with Sweden, toured a lot here in the sixties/seventies, even speaks (or spoke) some Swedish. He sang Georgia on my mind with only Martin Taylor on guitar – wonderful. Among the highlights were also – as reported from elsewhere – the guitar duel on Tear It Up, which finished off the concert.
Weak numbers ... well, Hit The Road Jack starts wonderfully with Gary on vocals, and his first piano solo for the evening – but then loses all nerve when everyone else has their solo, too. Organ, guitar, sax, sax again, guitar again – really, it's too long ...
Frank Mead on sax was maybe the audience's favourite of the evening – good solos and such body language! And speaking of body language, I wonder how on earth Gary can concentrate while the absolutely smashing Melanie Redmond dances right in front of his piano. (And anyway, she did have a ring on that finger. Sigh.)
The musicians definitely seemed to have a good time on stage, laughing and making jokes to each other. But the concert hall in Linköping is not really the best place for a rhythm-n-blues-concert. It's a modern conference centre, a bit too big and much too posh, with the audience seated firmly in very cosy chairs. I really longed for a smaller club-like place, where people could stand up and dance. Still, the energy and excitement was certainly there.
Gary became more of the central point during the end of the
concert. And guess what? He rapped
'We-skipped-the-light-fandango-turned-cartwheels-cross-the-floor' very very fast – and a bit of Switchboard Susan too – to the beat of encore rock-n-roll medley Mashed Potatoes.
A nice finish to a splendid evening.
Thanks to Jonas Söderström