Today I am sitting in a hotel in downtown Berlin and writing down my impressions from yesterday evening. Otherwise the days will get mixed up during the reportage.
I started the first part of the article after breakfast in Schmölln. There was the first stop of the tour. Last year the group played here already once and as I had heard, the audience in the small MusicClub an der Sprotte was thrilled. I wasn’t there myself in 2017, but after yesterday evening I can confirm that the MusicClub and its visitors are something special.
The musicians were warmly welcomed by the hosts and the audience, and already after the first song “Rock is my business” the club and its guests were at operating temperature.
It’s a bit like the Village in Habach – most people know each other, the room is small, the audience stands directly in front of the stage, you can reach out to the musicians, you’re in the middle of the action, that heats up the mood accordingly. And for me, the audience in Eastern Germany is still a bit more emotional, often reacts more spontaneously, is always there when Ron or Rainer invite you to join in.
The band played their prepared program, sometimes they deviated from the set list at short notice, sometimes Ron made small changes to one or the other song. He is known for his spontaneity, which makes every evening unique.
The new (actually old) line-up with James Jacobs on keyboard and Christoph von Sonnenburg has by now become really harmonious and is still a bit better after every gig.
Christoph on drums and Rodney on bass get the guys in the front row of the stage really going. That he’s got it right, he could already show more than 20 years ago, the first CDs with the Ron Evans Group originate from this time. I really like Christophs style.
James on the keyboard is an incredible enrichment. Sometimes a Hammond B3 thunderstorm rolls off the stage, the listener desperately looks for the (non-existent) Leslies, then a little later it is again an accentuated piano. James always presents his solo interpretations with a lot of enthusiasm. For me it is still unbelievable how you can pack all these sounds suitable for the stage into such a handy keyboard.
Rainer is a man of many talents on the saxophone, the bongos, the acoustic guitar or even on the microphone, always immediately at home in the respective role. With the bongos a new rhythm variation is added, this groove complements Christophs drums perfectly. Since Rainer plays his saxophone with a radio transmitter, he could also perform one or two excursions directly into the audience.
Rodney stands as usual solid like a rock on stage with the bass in action. There’s nothing to disturb him here. At the introduction of the musicians Ron can at least elicit a Scots joke (…the smallest Scottish airport…) from his friend (who grew up in Scotland)
Ron is also in his element again tonight, and when music and show are received well by the audience, you will also notice this in Ron and his group. Some times the microphone stand is used as a slide for guitar playing, just like in the old days. Especially with his own songs Ron can immerse himself in the solos for minutes.
But also the cover numbers After Midnight and I’m a Man came across extremely well today. Here Ron and James take turns with the solo parts. One feels like a few decades back into the late 60s and early 70s. And despite the cable Ron joined the audience a few times with his guitar.
The group played two sets and some encores, which were loudly demanded before. During the break many nice conversations developed, CDs and posters were signed, some guests had regional souvenirs – short drinks in small bottles and Altenburger playing cards – with them, which were handed over to the musicians.
A guest approached me during the break about my photos and complimented my article recently published in Goodtimes. That makes me very happy, of course, when my work is also appreciated by the fans and readers.
The photos of the evening are still on the memory card in the camera, I will only be able to view everything in time at the end of the tour and make a selection. Until then, there’s only a first photo as a placeholder copied onto the mobile phone with the app.
Tomorrow more from the gig in Berlin.
It’s Thursday evening, November 22nd – the picture selection is finished. The first pictures are some details from the stage, then some snapshots from the backstage area and then of course the pictures from the concert.