Shepherds Bush Empire, London
London was hot and sunny an so were John and Danny. It was bright and brilliant.
As one of the five lucky winners of the video competition my girlfriend and I went to London by boat from Hoek van Holland in The Netherlands. This was about the 15th time I saw John Martyn, but it was only the third time abroad. The last time in London, was in 1975 in Regent Park Open Air Theatre a brilliant solo concert. But this one was even better. I had never saw the two together on stage, so you can imagine my state of ecstasy that evening. To start with it was a first class venue, the best I ever saw him perform in. And secondly because of the great sound, it was absolutely great, clear and balanced. The extra mic. for the acoustic guitar gave just that bit of extra depth, lacking most of the acoustic acts today, using only a pick up on the guitar. Very subtle and never to loud, but still with a maximum of dynamics.
He started with Glory of Love and there it was, right from the start magic between John and Danny, the driven bass and the bluesy guitar riffs and that unequalled voice. Other highlights were Bless the Weather, in my opinion the best songs only have two chords,sometimes three. I love that simplicity it goes right to the core and at the same time they are as complex as can be. He played a very good My Baby Girl a lovely Sweet little Mystery and of course the excellent Outside In. He was in great form and even the ballet lessons paid off! Wonderful steps and flick/flacks. He gave two encores, first The Easy Blues and after a great response from the audience a second one with Cocain. Normally this would be a absolute great night for me, but because of the guest tickets this was just the half of the experience.
After the show we could have a quick word with Danny who appeared not only a great musician, but also a great person with good sence of humor. For me it was more of a double concert instead of John Martyn with someone in the backing.
With Joe, the manager as guide we went to the artist Cafe and waited a few minutes for John to come. He was in a real good mood and signed and made drawings on the programmes for everyone as a real artist. Joking and socializing with all the fans for more than a hour. “I draw your country.” He said to me. ********* This was it.
Meantime my girlfriend was talking for a half hour with John’s girlfriend Theresa about learning the guitar and the piano, always thinking she was talking to John Hillarby’s wife for some strange reason. Theresa said that John is teaching her how to play “Cocain”, but he doesn’t lend her his expensive guitars. Well may be things will change in the near future.
For us it was a very special night and to John Hillarby, I will always be in your debt.
Jos van Oost