London's 100 Club took a late booking from John Jorgenson's band, and the fans were pleased they made it!
John, a former Elton John guitarist, Charlie Morgan, a former Elton drummer, Badfinger's Jeff Ross, and Alan Thompson the bass player from Glasgow, Scotland, crammed the stage for a great night packed with 2 and a half hours of music on September 13, 2001.
In the crowd was actor and funnyman Alan Davies, who came along with the Sisters Webb, an Irish flute playing Charlie Webb and a Harp playing Hattie Webb. Allowing for the fact the girls are a catch, the male fans agreed Alan had good taste!
Alan's fame spans his role as the luckless crime buster in BBC TV's Jonathan Creek, a few commercials for Abbey National Bank, and the current controversial drama Rose and Bob where he plays a gay man who falls in love with a woman. A hard role to pull off!
The band were also in an anxious mood - this was their last gig in the UK before returning to the USA. They were upset about the terror strikes on New York's World Trade Center and Washington's Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and were also unsure whether commercial flights to the USA would resume in time for their scheduled departure next Tuesday.
But the tour also gave the boys a chance to escape the terrible footage of the incidents. They had read the papers and seen some of the film, but playing their music and the warm reception of many fans on the tour was well-received and helped them delay facing the stark emotions they will feel on their return to the USA.
Ahead of the gig itself, both John and Charlie gave me an exclusive interview.
Brighton's crowd of fans were also in evidence at the venue in central London, as we took seats for a good-natured gig under trying circumstances.
Charlie Morgan had rigged up his Premier Drums and Sabian cymbals, and planted Bob the Builder mascot on the front of his gear - much the way a juggernaut lorry driver might do on his vehicle's grille. Charlie assured me Bob would feel comfortable in that hanging position! I doubted that when I looked at Bob's facial expression. Enough said!
John started off with the indelible rock opera track Easter Island Heads off his current album Emotional Savant.
Some of the songs which made his inaugural UK tour in November 2000 such a success, were also showcased again, including the last single from John's Desert Rose Band She Don't Love Nobody, catchy Jig In D, a tribute to a late musician In Memory of Danny Gatner, and Valse de Samois.
John also gave us several covers, including a song written by The Byrds' Gene Clark Set You Free this Time, The Monkees' You Just May Be the One, and peppered the show with various songs by The Beatles She Said, She Said. and made some suspiciously Elton-like facial expressions during The Beatles' Love You To.
After each song, John lapped up the atmosphere of genuinely unbridled roars of approval from the fans and others who appreciate John's diverse musical abilities.
John then said: "As you may know, I played with Elton John....no I performed with Elton...No Charlie did some back beat!"
John then launched into a song from his collaboration with Elton's Davey Johnstone, the album Crop Circles, with a song dedicated to Americans: Sacred Path.
JJ followed up by saying: "I really disagree with retribution for the World Trade Center attack whatever country it is for the sake of innocent people." And with that comment, JJ played a song he penned with his wife Eye for an Eye.
Last time he performed that song in London, he dedicated it to those who were executed under the Texan laws when George W. Bush was governor and when the U.S. was gripped by a very different crisis: the election of a President.
A few Scots were exhibiting some boisterous exhuberance. Those lads made requests for Happy Birthday and other trivialities, but failed to break down JJ's itinerary.
Later in the gig, JJ said: "We're going to play Highland Boogie for our Scottish friends." A fan shouted: "They've gone". And JJ replied: "That's why we're doing this song!"
Earlier, Jeff, resident in Los Angeles, threw off the shackles of the Korg keyboard to take up arms with a guitar and sing My Baby Blue
The Sisters Webb joined the band on stage with their instruments. Hattie came on first with Harp for a Scottish song we cannot identify. This was followed up by a second Irish song with Charlie Webb on stage too, with her Irish flute, again song name not established.
The finale involved The Train Song which swung into the theme from Tarrantino's film Pulp Fiction, featuring Alan and Bob the Builder on bass (!) before recovering with a medley of Beatles songs which included the encore track
The venue was more spacious than last year's Borderline in London, and the song list more adventurous and exciting. Take a bow boys, well done!
Here is the full song list from London:
- Easter Island Heads
- To Tomorrow
- Back On Terra Firma
- She Don't Love Nobody
- Set You Free This Time
- Give Us One More Day
- You Just May Be The One
- The Things We Said Today
- Jig In D
- Scottish song (unID)
- Irish song (unID)
- In Memory of Danny Gatner
- Valse de Samois
- The Black Mountain Rag
- Commuter Iceman
- My Baby Blue
- She Said, She Said
- Love You To
- Sacred Path
- Eye For An Eye
- Highland Boogie
- The Train Song
- Hippy, Hippy Shake