Last night, sweetheart took me out to a concert. John Mayall. The name rang a bell, my memory faintly called: Blues / verging on jazzy sometimes / Room to Move!
At the same time, I didn’t expect too much. Sweetheart was saying, the artist is 85. What can you expect from someone that old? Even the crowd queueing outside Columbia Halle was a sight in itself. It’s been a long while since I had last seen such a huge conglomeration of long white beards and thinning gray male ponytails. If on departure I hadn’t met two young guys in their thierties that I know personally, I would have sworn, there wasn’t a single person in the audience, that was younger than me. And I am well into my second half, too.
However, I was pleasantly surprised and had a great time. So much experience. So much expertise on instruments. Such a great bunch of co-musicians forming the combo. The voice darker than I remembered, John Mayall still is a great singer. And an even greater master of the mouth organ. Despite his body being all wrinkly and slightly bent over, his extremeties sometimes at odd angles and his fingers all knotty, the old man emanated so much groove and love for music. He obviously had as much fun performing as we all had watching and listening.
At his side one fabulous and very inventive bassist: Greg Rzab. A maybe fourty-odd years old, thin man, his long brownish hair hanging out of a beanie, featuring a pair of black jeans and a Ziggy-Stardust T-Shirt. Jay Davenport, the drummer – what an impressive figure. With the lights on, his beard and crown of hair shone white on his dark face and I caught myself thinking: this man can infuse the fear of god in any person. He looked at times like Zeus himself, throwing flashes down at us.
Caroline Wonderland completed the band. A mid-forty, fairly pale woman with big, sparkling glasses, playing the E-guitar. Long, red hair dangling onto a folksy garment kept in dark hues with some metallic Hippie ornaments on it. Behind her a little doll sitting on an amplifier – a clown or some such thing, featuring a pointed hat. Maybe a “wish-you-well” gift from her kids?
Then this woman started to play. Her art is right up there with the big names in finger-pickin’ Blues Guitar. At the same time a bit more rock-and-roll than most of the other Blues players. I loved her style. A few songs into the gig, John Mayall announced Caroline to sing, too. At this point, the entire audience was blown away. This woman opened her mouth to sing and one thought, Mrs. Joplin herself resurrected.
I am glad, I was able to see this event. Here event really is the perfect term: a truly noteworthy happening. And classic, too