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FOCUS, The Ferry Glasgow 26 October 2011
When I mentioned to an acquaintance that I was off to see Focus at
The Ferry his response was 'you deserve a medal for that one', hmm. To
be honest I was unsure what to expect from this one and walking into the
Ferry, which is actually exactly as it says, the old ferry which at one
time ran across the Clyde from Renfrew to Clydebank, a lot of the crowd
wouldn't have looked out of place as extras in Last Of The Summer Wine.
I am not getting any younger myself, but I wasn't far off being the
Already in full flow when we arrived was local blues band Dealer who, it
turned out, were rather good. Playing a mix of Howlin' Wolf tracks, a
few of their own compositions and an excellent reworking of 'Summertime'
they went down well. Special mention to the guitarist, I missed his
name, who put in some sterling work throughout.
Whilst waiting for Focus to come on my wife pointed out an individual
making his way through the crowd who it would appear had come prepared
for the worst the Scottish weather could throw at him, it was only when
he made his way to the Hammond organ that I realised it was Thijs Van
Leer ! He really did look like he had made his way from an arctic
When the band started playing though it became apparent why they have
maintained a loyal fan base over the years as the musicianship on show
was first class.
point of the band is Van Leer who is like a slightly eccentric but fun
uncle. While either playing up a storm on the organ or conducting the
crowd whilst playing the flute at the front of the stage, he clearly
still has a passion for the music and the live performance.
makes it a bit of a family affair as his wife man's the merch desk, we
were all encouraged to go and say 'hi' and perhaps browse while we were
there, what better way to advertise your wares.
The other musicians are first class, the guitar playing of Menno Gootjes
was outstanding as was the bass playing of Bobby Jacobs.
familiar powerhouse drum patterns of Pierre Van Der Linden are what
underpin the whole delivery and pull it all together, especially through
the more complicated sections of which there were many.
For me, the shorter more direct numbers were more my bag especially
'House Of The King' and 'Sylvia' and although I did admire the playing
on the likes of the 19 minute version of 'Eruption' it veered too far
into the realms of jazz rock fusion for my liking, but again that is
more to do with my own musical tastes rather than any lack by the band.
I did enjoy the show and if there are any medals to be handed out it should be to
Van Leer and Van Der Linden for staying true to the music and continuing
to provide a great evening's entertainment after all these years.