by Dave & Brigitte
Brigitte and I had the great pleasure to attend this concert, it was her third time to see this wonderful band and my first experience. We were given the honor to go backstage and meet the band in person, thanks to our new friend Kevin and to spend about forty five minutes talking to all of them, this was an incredible amount of time considering how busy they all were, taking care of all the details and preparations that needed to be done before they hit the stage.
They were all pleased to meet us, very friendly and more than willing to make us feel right at home. I have only heard about Randy Hansen from Brigitte and never heard his name until I came here to Germany, and in retrospect, this was a great oversight that has now been corrected. First of all to meet Randy in person and then to hear him play for me was the right order, because when he was on stage I couldn’t imagine that this was the same person that I was sitting with and talking to just twenty minutes before. Backstage we talked about everything from planets that were just being discovered, to Richie Blackmore, Leslie West, and working with Sam Kinison as a member of Sam’s band, also we discussed Ann and Nancy Wilson (of Heart) who have always been big supportive of his career, and about Howard Leese, guitar player for Heart, and how Randy came to live in Howard’s house.
Randy and I found out that we were both born in December just one year and one day apart and although this may not be a very interesting fact, every little bit of information we learned from each other brought us closer together in a short amount of time. There is something to be said for people who are born under the sign of Sagittarius, Jim Morrison was born on the same day as Randy, and Morrison is quoted as saying two things on this subject, the first is “I am a Sagittarius - the most philosophical of all the signs” and in the same context he said “I don’t believe in it, I think it is all a bunch of Bull-Shit myself” and he added “But I’ll tell you this - I want to have my kicks before the whole Shit-House goes up in flames”. This is how Jim Morrison lived his life until his untimely death in a bath tub in Paris, this is how Sam Kinison lived his life until his unfortunate tragic end in a head on car collision, this is how Stevie Ray Vaughan conducted his life until that ill-fated helicoptor crash in 1990 and this is how Randy Hansen conducts his life on stage and off.
Randy the man is creative and driven to play in honor and respect of Jimi Hendrix, but without the self-destructive tendencies that killed the other’s that came before him and with a sense of deep honor that he is a survivor. In Randy’s case it is Jimi Hendrix who whispers to him, as The Wind Cries Mary. This is written for those of you who have never heard of Randy Hansen before this concert review, if there was only one person in this world who Jimi himself would have given his spirit and soul to, it would be Randy Hansen. Robin Trower comes close with his playing and feel, Stevie Ray Vaughan is closer in sound and in spirit, but Randy is the one to carry on the legend of Jimi Hendrix from all sides. Randy is the one and only person who has the blessing of Jimi’s father Al Hendrix to perform in Jimi’s name.
Randy was born on December 8, 1954 in Seattle, Washington. His father passed away when Randy was young, and Randy has been playing guitar since he was ten. How and where the spirit of Jimi Hendrix crawled into his soul I did not presume to ask, but it’s in there and that is all that matters. Randy has jammed with Stevie Ray Vaughan, played together with Paul Rodgers (Bad Company), and has been involved with movie soundtracks such as Apocalypse Now and Nicolas Cage has requested his help in another film score.
During our time backstage with Randy we found him to be intelligent, honest, happy, and just a little on the shy side, when talking one on one this was the case, but when it came to the photos we took he came alive and gave us just what we needed. On stage he plays for himself, and gets into the music until it takes hold of him, and then he shares the feeling with all of us, by the end of the concert everyone is exhausted and happy.
As with our review of Carvin Jones, Ten Years After with Joe Gooch, and now Randy Hansen, the main fact that stands out is their love of the music and love for their fans who take the time to come out and appreciate real talent. Playing to 100 people or 100,000 - they all play the same way, as if their life depends on it.
Randy plays Hendrix perfectly, but he is still Randy, he doesn’t pretend to be Jimi. So many people miss the whole point, enjoy yourself, have fun, you know the music and all the words - let loose and relax. Have a night out, make some new friends, have a drink or three and smile. If you spend all your time comparing Randy to Jimi (note for note you miss out) because that’s all you will be able to see. There are so many narrow minded people who think they are the experts when in fact it’s the person on the stage who is doing their best to get their message across, that is the real expert. We would rather see Randy Hansen play than to listen to the hollow / empty opinions of the so called purist, and who the Hell are these so called purists anyways? Randy plays Hendrix songs this is true, but we also believe that he is able to play any style of music and in any speed or with any emotion that you would like to hear it. He played "Strawberry Fields Forever" on his Stratocaster and it was beautiful and touching, we have never heard this played by anyone in this way before. It made you remember John Lennon as alive in spirit, dead in reality and alive again forever in our hearts. This is an example of the technical and emotional range that Randy and his band evoke, and the power and total control that is used but never abused while they are on stage.
The German bass player UFO Walter is one of the most renound and respected in the world, the drummer Manni V. Bohr is also one of the most technical artists I (Dave) have ever had the pleasure to hear, this side of my seeing Neal Pert (Rush) in concert back in the States, and the emotional range and passion of Ric Lee. What makes them such outstanding professionals is that they themselves direct all of their attention to Randy and away from their own playing, but their contribution can not be overstated. The band members respond to Randy’s playing as if they were part of the audience too, they respect him and love to watch and listen as much as we do. This band has no set list, they do what they feel at the time, they follow Randy’s lead and play what they want, they all go with the flow, and it comes out in their music. You get the feeling that they could play for hours because they hated it when they had to stop as much as we did.
Just to give you a last impression of just how professional these three men are: Randy had some technical problems during the encores, the band members supported him during these, awkward and uncomfortable periods, Randy himself was cool, calm and collected as he tried to remedy these little distractions. It was how he dealt with the problem that impressed us as much as his guitar playing, his whole attitude was “well let’s see what the problem is here, let’s try this, nope that isn’t it, how about this, oh yeah, here we go again, oh,no we lost it again, let’s do this”. Randy didn’t stomp around and scream at those around him, and blame others for the problems he was having, he took it all in stride and dealt with it as it came.
Brigitte and I were offered the chance to go backstage after the gig once again, but decided to respectfully decline only because they were all exhaused.We thanked our new friends Randy Hansen, Manni v. Bohr, UFO Walter and Kevin, for all their time, consideration, and support of our needs.
Randy Hansen spends a lot of time touring Europe (Germany) in particular
and throughout the United States. We
recommend this band 100% if you like what Jimi Hendrix did to advance the
history of music and Rock and Roll, you will love what the Randy Hansen Band
does with it during a live performance, and in front of an appreciative audience.