POP THE CORK!
THE ROCK N' ROLL ROAD TO
CELEBRATE 40 YEARS OF TYA HISTORY:
DAY ONE: Thursday
September 6, 2007
Our trip starts off Thursday morning at 11:30 in drizzle
mist and rain.
We made only one rest stop along the way, and that was for gas.
Our travel information said it was a six hour drive to
Luxembourg. Of course what it didn't tell you was about
all the endless construction and delays going on, about
every ten to twenty kilometres the entire trip.
Three lanes into two - two lanes into one - and one lane
that moved along at a snails pace.
Other than that, we drove straight through, and made very
BUMPER CARS IN ESCH:
Yes, it was a game of real live bumper cars, every time I
wanted to make a left hand turn, someone was blowing their
horn at us, even though there was no lane for traffic
there. There was a dirt / gravel space but no paved road
in the middle, what was once an option for me to turn
around, suddenly became full with rush hour traffic. Once
I did get turned around and heading in the right direction,
I now needed to make another left hand turn, and once
again the horns of warning were upon us in full force. I
was in the proper turning lane, but these folks decided to
create their own.
We were only fifty feet away from our destination, but the
odds were against us making it in one piece - but we
finally did. Never been so happy to park our car for a few
It was a major surprise to us that we weren't the first
Herb beat us to the hotel, and you know how first meetings
can be, they're always clumsy and awkward. For my part I
was anxious to get these preliminaries behind us as soon
as possible. With a firm handshake and a heartfelt hug, we
are now finally meeting in person.
Brigitte caught first sight of Herb, and then our friend
Axel and his friend from Berlin appeared, and within the hour
Anita joined our group, who's
also from Berlin. They drove 800 kilometres just for TEN
YEARS AFTER and this special event. Jacky and Martine from
France arrived, and Lionel flew in from London.
Then one by one the band members started showing up. First
Chick and Ric, followed closely behind by Leo, his son Tom
Brigitte, myself and Anita headed across
the centre square and sat outside at the Bistro, enjoying
the sunshine and some drinks.
Soon there after we were joined by Ric who ordered a pre
dinner rose' wine and sat down with us for quite awhile.
After some more conversation and another round or two of
drinks, Leo and Ric invited us to join them for dinner.
GUTEN APPETIT / BON APPETIT / THE CHOW
Eleven of us sat down, Tom and I had a vegetarian pizza,
Leo, Axel and his friend all had large portions of
fresh muscles. Ric and Herb shared a huge order of
Chateaubriand that needed two platters to complete the
serving. Brigitte and Anita were enjoying the wine, and
some delicious mushroom soup in a small glass serving that
was simply out of this world, so good in fact, that
everyone ordered three more rounds of it.
Good food, good friends and a ton of
laughs and stories all around. The talk consists of the
making of the dvd, food, wine, concerts, the bands past,
present and future are all brought into the general
There is a warm comfortable feeling between all of us.
Herb is sitting right across from me and his focus is on
relaying information to Ric about possible film footage
for the upcoming dvd release.
As for me, I have a question for Leo that I always wanted
"At Woodstock, were you concerned at all about all the
water on the stage, combined with all that electricity
buzzing around everywhere?".
His reply was "I was more worried about the entire
stage collapsing out from under me, as it was listing to
the front at a precarious angle, and the entire thing
shook and swayed all the while". Herb then adds a
comment about big Bob (the Bear) Hite jumping up and down
on that very stage during his performance with Canned Heat,
which made us all laugh at the thought of it.
Dinner lasted the better part of two hours,
from beginning to end. Then back to the hotel we wandered,
to sit outside, order a few more rounds of drinks and
continue the few unfinished conversations that we started
Chick and his friend didn't join us for dinner, but he's
now hanging out of his hotel window and heckling his band
mates and the rest of us down below. For some reason,
Chick likes to stay remote from the others these days and
keep to himself. I can certainly understand Joe's desire
for independence and freedom at age 30, but it surprises
me as to why Chick also has the same desire.
A HARD DAYS NIGHT:
The only problem that affected us all, was all the noise
coming from an obnoxious bunch of drunken people from the
two bars across the courtyard. It was bad enough while we
were outside, but later on, none of us got much sleep. The
noise finally stopped around daybreak when they passed out
DAY TWO: Friday
September 7, 2007
Very little or no sleep for any of us, after travelling
all that way to get there, and yet we're all flying high
just to be together. Breakfast was full of blurry eyed
folks, but a welcomed adventure none the less. No one
wanted to eat the scrambled eggs because they had a funky
kind of radioactive glow emitting from them. I said to Ric,
"they taste better than they look" Ric's reply
was "I thought it was the other way around" they
looked better than they tasted!
For the first half hour or so, everyone was kind of
dragging along and trying to get up to some kind of
personal speed, thus breakfast was a relatively quiet and
Patrick and Natalie Bellier:
Upon entering the breakfast dinning room, my eyes meet
Patrick is from France and he and I have been email pen
pals and cyber friends for approximately seven years now,
and this is the first time we've had the chance to meet in
person. It takes a few minutes to adjust to each other and
confront the possible language barrier, although we learn
soon enough, that there is no obstacle here, Patrick
speaks very good English and we're off to a great start.
I can think of nothing that we disagree about, and music
is our common bond.
His beautiful wife Natalie is a real Parisian standout,
she's bright, witty, quick and very patient.
Patrick himself is easy going and like me just a big kid
at heart, so it's no wonder we're destined to get along so
well. Brothers in arms.
During our three days together I've had the pleasure to
learn a great deal from him, as it applies to politics,
culture, music and different aspects of French life.
So, we all made it through breakfast and
then some people disappeared back to their rooms for a few
hours more rest. I ask Patrick if he'd like to watch a TYA
concert that I brought with me on the lap-top. We go into
the living room area order a few drinks coke-a-cola for me
and a Danish beer for him. Brigitte, Natalie and Anita do
a little sightseeing around the town of Esch.
Upon their return, it's time for lunch, off to the pizza
restaurant we go, this is the same one where we had dinner
with the band the night before. Excellent food, nice
people and good friends.
BAND SOUND CHECK:
The band has sound check, lighting check, and are working
out all the lead-ins, stage notes and directions. They
headed toward the venue at eleven this morning for a
meeting with the entire stage crew and technical support
team. The actual sound check took place between two and
four in the afternoon.
In the words of Sander Veenstra, bass technician for Leo
Lyons the following:
"The band played a lot of songs during that time
period. Everything looked good and everyone is very
pleased with the end results, but even so, the band still
looks a little bit nervous".
And yes indeed they were. Upon their return to the hotel
at around 4:30 - 5:00 you could see it in their faces and
hear it in their voices. For me it was good to see these
die hard veterans a little bit on edge, as it was clear
that they were serious about what was to take place here.
There was no way that they were just going to slide
through this dvd shoot unaffected or unemotional, they
were going to have to earn this bone, from beginning to
end. With common sense being applied here, it could only
go one of two ways, either everything will be brilliantly
executed as planned or as Joe expressed in an off hand,
flippant and joking way: "or it'll just be the
biggest car crash / wreck you ever saw". I personally
found comfort in Joe's comment, meaning, if it will it
will and if it won't it won't, simple as that, and only
time will tell.
NOTES FROM INSIDER SANDER:
"5:30 dinner is served and the support band starts
setting up their equipment, followed by their sound check.
Now, it's only a matter of waiting for the highlight of
the day to occur The Show".
"At 7:00 "Sonic Season"
comes on, plays a great set and warms up the audience
"At 8:15 Tom Lyons and I start tuning
up the basses and guitars, while also doing an important
line check, all the equipment is in order and works
perfectly - thank God for that!"
8:30 - 12:00
WHO's WHO / WHO's WHERE - THE FINAL
Meanwhile, back at the Mercure Hotel our little group has
had to catch the train to get to the venue ROCKHAL, as it's
difficult to drive there. We leave the hotel at 6:00 and
arrive there in plenty of time….we're the first to
arrive as usual.
The ROCKHAL in Esch-sur-Alzette,
Into the venue bar where Lionel buys us
all a round of drinks as we check out the layout of the
place. It's a brand new building, we were told,
and it definitely was big, clean and friendly on the
inside. There's a security man standing at the entrance to the
hallway leading to the stage area, we exchange a few kind
words and he allows me to enter unrestricted and
un-hassled. As I enter the stage area, it's a beautiful
setting, with a gigantic camera boom with a fence around
it. There's only about twenty people inside including
Dominique who's standing against the left hand wall, and
Sander is in front of me, doing his pre-concert
we exchange a wave of the hand and just smile in knowing
the intensity of the situation….kind of a
brotherhood - no words were needed.
I return to the bar and then wander the immense area
between there and the refreshment stand that will serve a
few thousand music fans in the next hours.
I watch the growing lines of fans gathering outside the
ticket booth, waiting to get inside. My last
responsibility here is to make sure everyone in our group
is present and accounted for, while also informing the
ticket takers, who is with us and given special privileges
There's a slight glitch in this area, as a few extra
friends of ours have arrived a little late.
I visit Tom, and he assigned Sander to help us out of this
sensitive situation. Sander stands at attention as I call
off names of the VIP's to be placed on the list,
everything goes smoothly and there's no resistance
whatsoever - and not a minute to soon.
I return to the bar area and ask the man at the door if I
may borrow a chair, with the promise to bring it back at
the end of the concert - he asked the barmaid and
permission is granted.
PRE - SHOWTIME ACTIVITY
The gates fly open and the fans enter the venue in a very
respectful manner, no pushing or shoving here, respect for
everyone involved. Within a short period of time I'm
totally surprised when French fans start approaching me
and asking in their best English "you're Dave aren't
you, we visit your website and we love the work that you
and Brigitte do. "Where's Brigitte they ask, we want
to meet her and say hello, and thank her too".
Now it's becoming clear to me, Christian Fix is here,
Dominique Chauviere, Jacky Moutaillier and many others
start coming over and we talk about the band and this
special dvd shoot. God Bless you French fans, you really
know how to rock out and enjoy yourselves, you're our kind
of people, and thank you for all of your support and ever
I plant my chair in an optimum position, right in front of
the security gate on the left hand side of the stage,
surrounded by Herb, Patrick, Natalie and Thomas Henzler -
while Brigitte and Anita positioned themselves stage
centre right in front of Mr. Gooch.
The hall is filling up but there is still plenty of floor
space available, this surprises me as there was an
excessive amount of people in line with more coming in.
What I didn't realize was the amount of space that - that
camera boom took up, so in fact, people were three deep
standing just outside of the interior door. When the band
took the stage, everyone flooded their way inside and the
place was sardine tight, elbow to elbow.
OPENING BAND "SONIC
Photos by Herb Staehr
The Band Members of Sonic Season are:
On lead vocals, harmonica and acoustic guitar - Sonja
On the drums / percussion - Laurent Dura
On the bass guitar and vocals - Bernd Schäfer
Patrick Barth, piano / keyboards and vocals
Alexandra Schwarz - acoustic guitar, electric guitar,
The opening band did an excellent job, and
it features two females in lead positions, one the main
vocalist and the other an exceptional guitarist. Their
sound was ballad type rock, with a hippie type late 1960's
twist. They didn't belt out the tunes, but instead laid
them down with just enough power, energy and good taste to
keep it interesting throughout their entire set.
Reminiscent of "Fairport Convention" or "Joy
Of Cooking" in my opinion.
I was intrigued with the guitarist style, as she was not
only very competent, and restrained in her playing, but
also something else caught my attention that made me
wonder about her training.
She was bending the notes alright, and hitting all the bar
chords with total accuracy, and stepping up with full
confidence for the lead guitar parts, but she was also
doing something very unusual and different. It's what I
call feathering the strings, the more common term is
called vibrato. She was using a style more reminiscent of
a violinist, a professional concert violinist at that.
Then it occurred to me that, this woman is a classically
trained musician and not just a run of the mill guitar
player. More vibrato and less bending of strings, more
feeling than energy and way more passion in her ability
than just going through the motions. It was her
conservative style that gave it away.
She'd adjust the tone dial on her guitar from time to time
and reduce the volume control as well. A few times right
in the beginning, she'd walk up to her amplifier and
adjust that too. This girl was fine tuning her instrument
in a disciplined subtle way, and not like so many others
who disregard the finesse factor, and just rip, tear and
blast out as needed, without an intelligent thought being
considered, contemplated or applied. Alex was just the
opposite, she's precision personified. Streamlined and
In a lot of cases, the opening band is a
nuisance, or necessary evil and the sooner they're set is
finished the better for everyone who's waiting for the
But "Sonic Season" was a band that made all the
difference in opening this important event. They were a
"Positive Spirit" a welcomed sensation and a
mind opening experience to be sure.
It should also be noted that, "Sonic Season" was
the primer opening group for the following bands:
"Manfred Man's Earth Band" "Toto"
"Chris de Burgh" and "Marla Glen".
Sonic Season - also won the Top German Rock and Pop Prize
in 2004 for the
"Best Folk Rock Band".
The members of the jury included:
Managers, Producers, and Singers - such as Heinz Rudolf
Kunze and Joachim Witt.
THE MAIN EVENT
NOW LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: TEN YEARS
Sonic Season finished their set on a very high note, the
audience loved their performance, but now anticipation is
running very high. The stage crew is making way for Ten
Tom is in top gear, but poised and professional as he goes
about his assigned duties. While Sander is standing above
us and to our left side, he's in the process of getting
Leo's bass guitars in order and making last minute
preparations and adjustments.
A man come on stage to make some very
brief announcements. Mainly, please do not use any flash
bulbs while you are taking your photos - photos are
allowed and this is all we ask of you, because of the film
crew and this dvd shoot that is going on around you -
please enjoy the show………
Ladies and Gentleman, would
you now please welcome
Ten Years After!!!
The band enters, the smoke machine is pumping out the
stage haze as the band plugs in, and in less than a minute
they're right on target.
This is the first set of two that will
take place this evening, with a very short intermission in
THE GODS ARE SMILING JUPITER / MARS /
SATURN ARE ALL ALIGNED:
Leo is in his element, as he thrives on being on stage and
playing in his energetic way makes him feel totally alive,
it's an important part of what he lives for.
Chick assumes his position with the confidence of a Nordic
Elder Hippie Warrior, only carrying the bands peace flag
instead of a mighty sword. His ten talented nimble fingers
are standing by at the ready, to attack his keyboard
unmercifully at a moments notice.
Ric climbs up to his exalted perch, where he's spent the
last forty years watching his band mates backside, on and
off stage. I consider Ric to be the elder statesman of Ten
Years After, in his heart as well as on paper, he keeps
the band rocking right along.
Joe took some extra seconds to plug in and get things in
order, before playing the first opening notes of the
opening song, which was:
1. Working On The Road
2. King Of The Blues
3. Hear Me Callin'
4. Angry Words
5. I'll Make It Easy For You
6. The Voice Inside Your Head
8. Love Like A Man
9. I'd Love To Change The World
10. I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes
End Of First Set
11. I Woke Up This Morning
12. Bad Blood
13. 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain
14. Time To Kill
15. Big Black 45
16. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
17. Living It Up
18. I'm Going Home
19. Reason's Why
The band pounded right through the first
song as though it was their second encore number. Meaning,
they put all the power, energy and passion into it right
from the get go. Full throttle / peddle to the metal and
never let up for a moment.
By the end of it, we were all Concorde airborne and
King Of The Blues, followed close behind, and that kept
the Ten Years After juggernaut rising still further.
By the time that the third number Hear Me Callin' had
finished, we had reached the level off plateau. After
every song, the audience let out with the loudest roar of
applause and approval that you could possibly imagine.
"Angry Words", "I'll Make It Easy For You"
and "The Voice Inside Your Head" pushed the
emotional button right to the limit. Song by song
excitement and desire for more….You may now remove your
seat belts and dance in the isles if you like, we will now
be at cruising speed for the next few hours, and ain't
nobody coming down any sooner - welcome to the Rock N'
Leo steps up to the microphone and
introduces "The Hobbit" Ric Lee's interpretation
of J.R.R.Tolkins furry little critters from middle earth,
leathery feet and all.
Ric did his usual excellent job, but after the show he
voiced his disappointment with his performance, he
couldn't give us an exact reason why he felt that way, he
just did is all.
But, I have a theory as to why he wasn't one hundred
percent happy with it. It's really quite simple from the
audience point of view. You see, it's all about momentum,
as Ric is so use to pace himself and place the proper
accents in the proper places at the proper times, thus the
result for him personally is a finished product of
But, on this night, the entire band started out in
overdrive and in the process Ric lost his little secure
ground that he had become accustomed to for so many years.
In other words, he too was caught up in the adrenalin flow
of the night, a flow that he was used to creating and now
it was motivating him, and pushing him along instead.
It was this wave of unstoppable energy that caught him
completely off guard.
In my layman's terms - Ric found himself shooting from the
hip, and that can be an uncomfortable and dangerous
position for any perfectionist of his stature.
When the dvd is released, what you'll see, is exactly what
I stated here, and as for Ric's performance on film, it
was brilliant. You'll not see any imperfections, and
you'll ask yourself why in the world did Ric feel this
way. If anything, Ric was showing respect for his friend
Keith Moon on this night - high energy with reckless
abandon and with precision. It's all heart and soul folks!
THE BEAT GOES ON:
"Love Like A Man", gives the audience
something to sing along to, clap to and stay excited about,
as the band is now playing to every individual in the
venue, and the audience feels that too.
"I'd Love To Change The World"
with a twist. Joe for the first time performs this song
using a twelve string guitar instead of his usual six
string, and what an amazing difference it made. The
interlude between the acoustic and the electric sections
was expertly held together by Chick's keyboard work, a
seamless piece of work that viewer and listener is bound
"I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes"
Leo introduces this song as a tune they played at the Isle
Of Wight Festival back in 1970….
The audience stays with this song throughout it's entirety.
Through all the changes, the old familiar song riffs,
right to the end…..
As this is the end of their first set.
THE SECOND SET:
"I Woke Up This Morning" starts
off the second part of this historic event, and the band
and audience have lost none of the momentum that was built
up during the first set. This song leads right into
"Bad Blood" and then into "50,000 Miles
Beneath My Brain", "Time To Kill", and
"Big Black 45".
Enter another classic song, "Good
Morning Little School Girl" followed by "Livin'
It Up" from Leo's "Kick" cd and right into
"I'm Going Home" which starts its life here with
Joe jumping up and standing right in front of a huge stack
of Marshall amplifiers.
The audience's response to which you'll witness for yourself
on their dvd.
Which brings us to the two encore numbers,
"Reasons Why" and "Choo-Choo-Mama"
which brought down the house - as a new song from the
band's "NOW" cd and the old Ten Years After
Classic from their "Rock and Roll Music To The
World" album from 1972, they round out a perfect
performance and perfect evening!
For some reason the second set seemed
shorter than the first one. But when the band played the
final notes and the roar of applause rolled in we all knew
that magic had again been made by Ten Years After - second
to none and equal to their performance at Woodstock. It's
AFTER THE SHOW:
We didn't go back stage as usual, maybe we should have
just to shake some hands and thank the promoters for a job
well done in person. But, on this occasion we avoided
getting under foot and instead headed out front where the
band was signing autographs. It does my heart good to see
the band lapping up audience acceptance and adulation on
this level. God they deserve it.
After awhile we all had to catch the train back to the
hotel, I caught Leo's eye and told him we'll see him later,
and he just flashed me his famous Leo understanding smile.
BACK AT THE MERCURE:
I asked Patrick and Lionel to help me bring up a few
boxes that we brought for the band, that was in our car.
It took all three of us to handle the job, all our arms
and hands were full. We laid all our gifts out on the
table in the courtyard, and just waited patiently for the
band to return.
Leo joined us for a quick talk, Chick disappeared into the
hotel, and Joe joined his group of family and friends at
the table next to us, but as always it's Ric Lee who's the
most sociable. Leo too, but he was exhausted and deserved
a much needed rest.
Patrick supplied us with the very best
expensive red wine from France:
"Les Bécasses -
Côte-Rôti, M. Chapoutier"
A most generous
contribution with a high-end price tag!
As we're sitting there talking Axel jumps up and points to
a good sized fox coming around the corner, hugging the
building next door, and continuing on his way. Right in
the heart of town, and right through our little gathering
of party rousers. It was such a strange event, and
thankfully, with an uneventful conclusion.
A QUICK LAMENT:
This should go without saying, but I think needs to be
pointed out for those of you who were not there with us.
It was a giant family affair, we sat around as a group of
one, we communicated as one voice, we related to each
other with one feeling friendship, love and respect. We
drank, we ate and we shared everything together in a
communal understanding. Even in moments of silence, much
was being said without words or sounds, and that my
friends is the crux of the biscuit.
And in the night we all slept together under the same roof
in peace and sometimes quiet. The band and some of their
most loyal / die hard fans and we'll never forget this
special time shared together.
After many years of sending emails back and forth, getting
to know one another and now finally meeting in person - I
will speak for all of us, when I say, it was a long time
coming and a dream come true.
LAST FULL DAY
TOGETHER: September 8, 2007
It gets a little fuzzy at this point, who left
first (Amelia and Gianni right after the concert), second
or third. But if my recollection is correct, most folks
left on Saturday morning right after breakfast. Starting
with the band members going in separate directions, Axel
and his friend left for their long drive back to Berlin,
Thomas drove back to Munich, and Jacky and Martine who
were heading on vacation. Dominique, Erin and Harry left
the same day.
Brigitte and I, Anita, Herb, Lionel, Patrick and Natalie,
all stayed on until Sunday.
This is when we did our little tour of
Luxembourg together, and where Herb ended his stay with
us. Little by little our group was departing.
That night we went to a Chinese Restaurant and had our
last dinner together. Afterwards we sat in the courtyard
for a few minutes and then retired to our rooms.
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN - THE LAST HOURS:
I heard Lionel's taxi cab come to pick him up at
around 4:00 in the morning. I couldn't get back to sleep
so I took our lap-top and went downstairs to the dining
room at 4:30 to start on this review.
About 5:00 - 5:30 Anita came down on her way home. We sat
and talked for a few minutes and it was a sad good-bye for
us - we just hate endings. But, she was happy to see me
working away on this just the same. She enjoys our photos
Patrick and Natalie joined me and Brigitte soon followed,
breakfast was served.
We compared notes, talked about our long journey's back
home and above all what we have just shared together in
these jammed packed days.
We return to our rooms to pack and get ready and then meet
again in the courtyard. It's now about 11:15 and we all
decide to sit and chat for a little bit.
No one really wants this dream to end, but it's inevitable,
and we're the last four standing.
At 12:05 we say our good-bye's and close the door together
on this event.
A beautiful thing indeed!
OUR LAST CONCERN:
We hope and pray that everyone of them gets home safely,
especially Herb who has the furthest ways to go and he's
In the end everyone does arrive back where they started,
in one piece - exhausted and happy.
ON A FUNNY NOTE:
We got lost trying to get back home. First we ended up in
Belgium, when we took a left instead of a right. Then
missed our exit, went straight and found another way to
get around. We ended up going through towns and cities
that neither of us have ever heard of and hours of driving
miles and miles out of our way.
Stopped for gas and then finally got on the right track.
In the end, it took the exact same mileage and time to get
home as it took to get there.
In conclusion: Don't sweat the details - if it will it
will, and if it won't it won't, only time will tell.
FURTHER ON UP THE ROAD:
We've all decided that we all need to do this again. This
is also the expressed
desire of the band who suggested the same thing to us. We
all had such great time
together…as you can no doubt tell from this concert
review, the previous section
Luxembourg and in the photos.