TEN YEARS AFTER at Rockhal, Luxemburg
7 September 2007
Review  by Herb Staehr



Traveling to Luxembourg to see the Ten Years After "DVD" concert at the Rockhal was possibly the most exhausting trip I have ever undertaken. Normally, when I travel west to east on transatlantic trips, the first night I sleep for about 12 hours to shake the jet-lag. But I never had a chance to sleep during the Luxembourg trip. Upon arriving on Thursday afternoon after the overnight flight from Boston, I immediately began meeting band members and fellow fans at the Hotel Mercure. So, it was well after midnight before the first night's social activities ended.

Friday was "concert day" so the excitement level was way too high to permit any serious rest. After the performance, the celebration did not end until nearly dawn. On Saturday, the "walking wounded" somehow gathered enough residual energy to take the train into Luxembourg for some sightseeing. I had to say goodbye to our close knit group about 2:00PM because I had a 5 o'clock flight to Amsterdam, so I could make the early connection back to Boston on Sunday morning. If you look at my parting picture in Dave's "travel-log" photos, you can see I have the color and appearance of a seasoned zombie (believe me, I felt like one!).

By Saturday afternoon, all I could think of was some serious "pillow time" at an airport hotel. But, no such luck, upon arriving in Amsterdam I was instead greeted with the news that a large convention was going on and all area hotels were completely booked. To make a long story short, I wound up riding the train to Utrecht - the closest city with a vacant hotel room (no way was I going to spend the night in molded plastic chair at the Amsterdam airport after 3 nights of minimal sleep). The "topper" to this story is my hotel wake-up call never came on Sunday morning, so I had to run to the train station as if fired from a shot-gun. I did just catch the train to the airport and finally limped back home about 8 hours later - another Ten Years After concert notch in my belt. It was a tiring trip, but then I think the guys in the band experience such arduous travel experiences on a regular basis! I wonder how many people truly appreciate how hard they work to bring us the music?

The Rockhal concert was nothing short of spectacular. The band was tuned in, the volume turned up and the audience was totally receptive. The atmosphere was electrifying. Ten Years After always rise to the occasion and this particular show was certainly no exception. I have never witnessed a sub par performance by Ten Years After, but you could quickly tell this one would be high end. More than once I remember nodding or saying to Dave and Lionel, "they are really on tonight". Particularly Joe Gooch - he's had to shoulder a big load and has been under extra scrutiny from the onset, but he was even more "on fire" than usual. Joe is a natural, yet he practices incessantly and it is clearly evident in his flawless and exciting playing. The "Ten Years After torch" has definitely been passed on to the most appropriate guitar player! But Ten Years After has become much more than a "guitar show". The powerful rhythm section of Chick Churchill, Ric Lee and Leo Lyons now figure much more prominently in the overall sound, it is truly a group effort and the intricate jams they all play today are outstanding.

It was also special to get two sets of music from Ten Years After. I think a description of the 20 songs they played is unnecessary, because it has all been said before and the proof will be on the DVD. The band is fantastic - enough said.

I hope most of the pure power and excitement that was present in the packed Rockhal will carry over justifiably onto the DVD. I'm sure the music will be exceptional like it was, however a limitation of performance films and videos is the "ambiance" and "vibe" is hard to replicate completely on audio/video media. The audio is often too clean and the field of vision is too narrow to capture the intensity of the actual live concert experience. Watching a video doesn't come close to standing in front of a Marshall stack driven at peak volumes. I don't think it should be a new revelation to anybody that Ten Years After must be witnessed live to fully absorb and appreciate how great a band they still are. Ten Years After are truly one of the greatest - they have been for forty years, and that is what keeps me coming back to see them again and again! I hope they will be around for many more years to come!