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SUNFLOWER SUPER JAM 2011
Royal Albert Hall, London,
8 July 2011
Deep Purple, Newton Faulkner, Joe Bonamassa and more ...The Sunflower
2011, Royal Albert Hall. They don't call them legends for nothing!
I grew up
in the 80's and 90's, the decade after rock really was at it's best. A
step behind the times, I adored and admired the talents of the 70's hard
rock era, and Friday night at the Royal Albert Hall reminded me why.
in aid of The Sunflower Jam Charity, started with an auction, the lots
on offer were enough to make you weep – to sing with Bryan Adams on
stage at one of his gigs, a flying lesson with Bruce Dickinson, a long
weekend in Jeremy Iron's castle … To name but a few.
felt the generosity of the audience was lacking. In all honesty the
auctioneer created quite a divide in the room, by referring to those in
the £75-£100 (cheap) seats as paupers! And the relatively small amounts
of money each lot brought, reminded my why I will never be stinking rich
- If I could have afforded to bid, I would have gone far higher than the
few thousands that the rich people (as called by the auctioneer) bid,
especially as it was for such a great cause: The Sunflower Jam Charity,
set up in 2006 by Jacky Paice (wife of Deep Purple drummer, Ian Paice)
really should be something on the calendars of any true rock fan.
meeting 16-year-old Deep Purple fan and Leukemia sufferer Kevin in 2005
Jacky felt a calling to help. Seeing the value of natural medicines and
the healing work that was taking place, Jacky was inspired to find a way
to raise vital funds for integrated medicine practices to be used on
cases such as Kevin's.
blessed with contacts in the world of rock, the Sunflower Jam idea was
born. Across it's five-year life span, stars such as Robert Plant, Paul
Weller and Status Quo have joined Deep Purple legends on the journey,
and each year the event has grown.
year's gig in the Royal Albert Hall promised to be bigger and better
than ever. The MC for the evening was the incredibly dapper Jeremy Irons
who at 62 still had twice the charm and sex appeal of most men half his
And as the
first act Newton Faulkner took to the stage it was plain to see
that it was going to be a gig hard to beat. Faulkner's perfect soulful
tones should have had the crowd's attention from the first bar, but
unfortunately I got the feeling many of the guests were not there for
the music and some even continued their conversations.
rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody was both breathtaking and
comical. However the audience's musical knowledge disturbed me further
when the American woman in our box leant over and asked 'Is that guy the
original singer of this song?'
then treated to music by the incredible Gary Brooker (Procol
Harum - Whiter Shade of Pale) whose voice, I must say, still puts men
forty years his junior to shame.
Jon Lord (Keyboards – Deep Purple), followed by the multi talented
Joe Bonamassa indulged us in rock heaven a little further – not
to mention the guitar talents of Jack Moore (son of Gary Moore) who
joined Bonamassa on stage in a tribute to his father, the late Thin
talent including Danny Bowes and Rick Wakeman, were thrown
into the delightful mix giving us a real feast of entertainment, before
the headline act Deep Purple appeared at 11.40pm.
was over as the uncompromising bass finally moved most of the audience
to its feet. The atmosphere was now almost gig-like as the suited and
booted were up from the tables and crowded around the stage.
last song - 'Smoke on The Water' - the crowd had finally shaken the
stuffiness and were 'in the moment' as Bill Bailey started
playing the cowbells – Yes! You heard correctly, the Legendary Rockers
were introduced by none other than the scarecrow-like comedian ringing
It is hard
to comment on such a spectacle, give Bailey his due he was darn good at
those cow bells, but as a purest rock fan I still would have preferred
the famous opening riff 'sans' the comedic intro.
All in all
it was a fabulous night, the organisers managed to create a large scale,
yet intimate feast of rock entertainment, the only thing that let it
down a little was the audience, who were under appreciative of just what
a treat they were getting.
with, at least (the rich people - the ones not there just for the music)
seemed to enjoy the food more than the gig, which to me was just not
what Rock and Roll is about.
I will be
pencilling in next year's gig and grab some headbanging friends to show
those who don't know their 'Queen from their Faulkner' what atmosphere
out more about The Sunflower Jam go to
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