TEN YEARS AFTER at Rockhal, Luxemburg
7 September 2007
Concert Review by Dave / Photos by Brigitte, Axel, Herb



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 good time.

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 days.

It was a major surprise to us that we weren't the first ones there.
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 and Wolfie.

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.


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 discussion.
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 to ask.:
"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 before.
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.

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 somewhere else.

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 solemn event.

Patrick and Natalie Bellier:
Upon entering the breakfast dinning room, my eyes meet Patrick's.
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.



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.

"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 perfectly".

"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



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, Luxemburg

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 preparation - 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 upon entry.
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.

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 growing friendships.

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.




Photos by Herb Staehr

The Band Members of Sonic Season are:
On lead vocals, harmonica and acoustic guitar - Sonja Hewer
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, vocals

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 subtle.


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 main event.
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.





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 Years After.
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 between.

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
7. Hobbit
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
Second 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
20. Choo-Choo-Mama

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 climbing.
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 heightened everyone's
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' Roll Stratosphere!

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 drumming perfection.
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!

"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 to appreciate.

"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.




"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 that good!

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.

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.

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.


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.

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 and reviews.
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!

We hope and pray that everyone of them gets home safely, especially Herb who has the furthest ways to go and he's flying.
In the end everyone does arrive back where they started, in one piece - exhausted and happy.

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.

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.

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