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October 2th 2002 --- Pictures by David Amendolara Reviews by David & Staf Pypen 

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Review by David Amedolara

Went to the Spirit of 66 in Verviers yesterday to see the John Lawton Band in action. I got everything i expected, and WAY more :-)

At our arrival, my dad and i were amazed by the (lack of) size of the venue. It was a first time for the both of us, since we were unable to attend the Hensley Lawton Band's gig a year (and a half) earlier. Too bad really, i would have loved to see that one.

I met with John Lawton some time before the venue. He was every bit as kind and friendly as you guys told me he would be. He really does treat you like you were an old friend :-)

I passed your regards and hello's and wishes. Staf, who arrived a bit later, proved to be the brains of our little Belgian outfit, as he had printed out your e-mails and gave them to Iris. John told me the lot of you are all very nice and decent people by the way. I was tempted to tell him to join the list for a  while :-p (Just kidding gang, just kidding!)

Since this was a unique opportunity, i bought the Lawton Dunning cd, so John could autograph it for me. Guess i won't be going out this weekend but it was worth it ;-) He then told me to stay a while after the show, to chat a bit and have a cold one. Who would refuse such an offer?

When the band started playing, there must have been some 50 people there. Yeah, not exactly much, but to say it in John's words: "I know the place isn't packed, but we're gonna have a party!!" And we did. From the opening riff of "Let It Ride" (i was expecting to hear ZZ Top...) till the last notes of "Free Me" (final encore) i was mezmerized.

They played a load of Heep, some stuff from "Steppin It Up", a bit of Lucifer's Friend and some songs from "Still paying my dues". A great set, really amazing. Two of the members, the keyboard player and the drummer, were brand new. In fact, the drummer told me afterwards that they'd only rehearsed once prior to that show.

During the set i took the time to sit and chat with Iris for a second, as she was sitting in the back,
rather alone. She really is a darling :-) Oh, she told me that Mick and Phil are in the process of writing some, so here's hopin'.

One of the coolest moments of the evening came after the show, when Steve D came straight up to me and said: "So, Dave, did you enjoy the show?" Had a good long talk about playing bass and all that. He's really such a cool guy. But then again, they all are!

All in all, i spent about an hour talking with John and Iris, Erol and Steve and i even tried to explain
to the drummer that Holland and the Netherlands are basically the same, and that Flemish is just a Belgian version of Dutch. In the end i became more confused than he did i guess :-)

Last, but definitely NOT least i got to mention this one guy that helped make the evening a really great one: Staf, here's to you mate, it was great seeing you again!!



Cheers,

     Eddie

Review by Staf Pypen

Wednesday October 2th 2002, a promising evening in Verviers, Belgium. The doors of the "Spirit of 66" were wide open. The odeurs of the beer and the music invited us in. In fact, we all came to see them, The John Lawton Band. When I came in, I stumbled on a young man, Dave Amendolara and his father, Franco. At a table near the doors, sat Iris, John's lovely wife, greeting me as if we were friends for a long time and it was the first time I met her. John was backstage, getting ready to start the concert. Still sad i missed him there. Anyway, the club could contain a crowd of around 200 people, yet only 40-45 turned up. In my opinion, that's the best amount to have a great time. And we had a great time. The concert started around 9 o'clock. I'm sorry, not to have written down the titles and the order in which they were played, but the sound of the music and John's voice makes you forget to be consequent. John's voice still created that feeling in me, as it did in his Heep-days. Love that sound. They planted a concert there, never to be forgotten.

 
Steve Dunning, the bass-wizzard, played a little guitar too (a little ?) He knows where his strings are and how to play them and the public.
 
Benjy, looking like a Muppet-character, knocked his drums into the far east. Or was it the west. Never mind, great drummer and i could tell by the way he played, he loved it every second.
 
Erol Sora, the smaller version of Ritchie Blackmore, but as small as he was, he was great in what he did there on stage and he moved me even more than Ritchie did in Vorst Nationaal, back in the eighties. No doubt. Never spoke a word to Ritchie, but i did to Erol.
 
Leon Lawson played his keys as if he was still with the Michael Schenker Group.
He disapeared from time to time in the smoke that came from under his keyboard.  He did a litlle bass too, imagine, a 5-man band with three guitarplayers, two bassplayers, one drummer, one keyboard'er and five singers. Oh, and one harmonica player. Did I forget something ?
 
John, well, John is a man who will stay the way he is for the rest of his life. A good man, not too proud to come down that stairs and shake hands with us, common people.
 
Me and Dave had a great talk with the guys after the gig. They are all great to talk to and laugh with. We had a few drinks, got ourselves a CD or two, signed by them, had another drink, changed email addresses. . . . .
 
I promised John, I'd be there the next time, he came to Belgium and I'm sure I will.
It was getting late and I was getting ready to go home, but not before I got a big hug from Iris, telling me to take care. You can guess, I've been taking care eversince. hahaaa.
 
See you John, Erol, Leon, Benjy, Steve, Iris, Dave, Frakke, Jelle, Francis, . . . .
 
Staf
 
Let it ride, let it ride
Let it slip, let it slide.
Ride the night away.
Let it ride, let it ride
Let it slip let it slide
'cause i'll be comin' back to stay.

 

 

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