Mr. Kyp's - Poole

4-5-2007
 


UK TOUR 2007

Thanks, thanks, thanks to Mr Kyps for getting Jan Akkerman and the band back. Yeh! I have been lobbying/pestering/pleading with Kyp for nearly 3 years, since their last stunning appearance in June 2004, to get Jan back and I know Kyp has been trying hard to book him. So straightaway I am happy as Larry (as in Larry Miller - the smiling guitar player!) I confess! I have been a massive fan of Jan - well the incomparable Focus really - since seeing them twice in the early 70s - at their peak around the time of Focus 3 (around when the "live at the Rainbow" album was recorded). So, when Jan kicked off the set with "Answers - Questions;Questions - Answers" and then the sublime "Focus 2" I was already totally satisfied. These "old war crimes" - as Jan described them - led into an adventurous excursion through solo and Jan Akkerman Band tracks over the next ...what seemed like 30 minutes but was nearer 100. Along the way "Sylvia" and "Hocus Pocus" made their obligatory, but welcome, appearances - both still sounding wonderful despite being over 30 years old.

Jan wielded his Les Paulish customised guitar - utilising (in my opinion) the neck off his Focus era Gibson Les Paul Recording (which soon morphed into a customised instrument back then - maybe it was the original incarnation of this same instrument - lasting for as long as the Focus tracks) and displayed the same astonishing virtuosity that drove me nuts all those years ago. I remember a chap called Terry (Thiese - I think it was) writing a series on the Top Ten guitarists in the UK's Guitar Magazine - all the usual early/mid 70's players were included - and Terry described watching Jan in concert and stating that he realised he might just be watching possibly the best guitarist in the world!

Well it is an opinion (and one shared by my pal Les whose jaw hits the floor each time he sees Jan) and though I don't see the greatest players in this light (each one is actually the best at their OWN THING - obviously!) it gives you a measure of the level of Jan's craft. And here he was - at Mr Kyps!!!!!! An alternative view - my wife's - is that he had a lovely, kind face! So there it is; he plays brilliantly and looks appealing too! Lucky b****d. Jan's broken English endeared us as he warmly introduced numbers and made some short humourous interludes. As usual the band were immaculate - I have been trying to drag my band's drummer to see what can be done with the right approach by a really first class drummer - this guy blows me away, and the 5-string bassist and multi-keyboard player are equally excellent in their delivery of spot-on performances. I must say - the sound was not as good as that presented by Richard - Kyps' resident Sound Engineer - which illustrates to me what a great job Richard does. He knows NOT to overload the bottom end of the mix (a common mistake repeated at this show by Jan's soundman). However - the performances were so good that I, at least, was able to go along with the flow. Brilliant. So, Thanks again! I think the stupendous reception given to the band and the clamour for encores shows that it was a great decision to get Jan back and I hope we are lucky enough to see the Jan and the band again. What a night! Oh, did I say?......THANKS!

Review: Neil Nicholson
Photos: Clive Woodley