And The Winner Is….
September 7, 2006 (Tambourine Contest)
Dimitris Theodoropoulos from GREECE!
His story was really great and not to take away from all the others, but the show he saw ALMOST didn’t happen. There was a storm that came out of nowhere that day and it turned out the ceiling had hundreds of HOLES! Porcupine Tree, the headliner, had some of their gear drenched before their roadies could cover it up. I was also ill with a throat infection and this was the last day of my meds so i was exp. happy about that.
That day has always stood out in not only my mind but the bands in that we all were really close on that trip. And it was the first time Arthur took his “do rag” and hat off and strolled the streets of Athens completely bald. He looked beautiful, his skin perfect and smooth (like his head) and he had the grace of a king. i think don’t think he ever felt that free in his life.
The show had thousands of people who were actually there (most) to see the headliner. But we stole the fans with our show and Arthur’s amazing voice and stage banter. He sang like an angel and it felt like we were lifted by the Gods that night. To this day, the people of Greece hold a special place in my heart and that shall never change. This tamborine now has a real (and well deserved) home.
And here’s the winning essay:
My favourite love gig is the only love gig I had the pleasure & the
privilege to attend. That was in Athens back in 2002. I was 42 at the
time and love was supporting porcupine tree. I went there in a big
space like a warehouse with my friend Antonis a music documentary
director in his thirties and dragged along my then 13 year old son
Menis who didn’t feel like watching some old rockers but wanted to go
to a rock concert. We were late, bought tickets at the entrance and
walked a long alley to the distant sounds of 7 & 7 is… Then we
entered the place which was packed; somehow we managed to remain at
a distance that was OK. Then we couldn’t believe it. The band seemed
so young and Arthur sang so beautiful and powerful, we thought he
wasn’t the real Arthur Lee but a younger person personifying him:
that is we couldn’t believe a man his age could be so youthfull and
energetic. the band was fantastic too. Their version of signed DC
still raises my hair. My son just couldn’t believe Arthur’s
performance; he became a love-fan ever since. When he sang the words
“freedom”, he tore the place down. What a show! What I loved was that
here we were three persons form three different generations enjoying
music originally written in the sixties, sounding better than ever.
Love returned a year later with the string ensemble to perform
“forever changes” in a small club this time (Rodon), but I was
shooting a movie-I’m a cinematographer- and was too tired to go to a
late night gig. Of course the next days I regretted it deeply. It was
fun though to read Mike R.’s diaries from the Greek island of
Angistri and to find that the band enjoyed their time in our country.
Later I had the pleasure of purchasing the “f. changes concert” on cd
and it somehow covered up what I missed. Back to that concert though.
Of course we didn’t stay for the “porcupine tree”, the headliners.
Love’s show was too much; we wanted to take it in and keep it inside
to savour it. I’m a film person and had the pleasure to learn my
craft in LA at AFI. That was back in 1990. There I bought my first CD
player and first thing I did was to get the first three love records
as they first appeared on cds. I haven’t had the chance to catch many
live acts in my lifetime but here’ s some bands I had the pleasure of
watching and listening to live: Mink de Ville in London 1977
supporting doctor Feelgood, Tom Verlaine live in NY 1981(playing
“wild thing” as an encore, James Chance at the peppermint lounge
in NY-1981, Miles Davies in Athens-1984, The Pogues with Joe Strummer
in LA-1991 and a rare reunion of the original Blasters at King-King,
on an early afternoon benefit gig in LA 1992. Also a reunion gig by
the Television at UCLA in 1992. Those were my favourite live gigs.
None of those matches the performance I enjoyed in Athens with Arthur
& Love. His vocal range was so “mature”, the versions of the songs
sounding so fresh. If only I could place a “request” so many years
later, that could be one of our favourite Arthur’s songs here in
Greece in between “love-connoisseurs”, that would be “love saga”,
from Arthur’s 1992 record also known in europe as “five string
serenade”… I’m inserting it on to my mac right now: the slow
blues intro with Arthu’s howl, then his unique reciting-singing
“… people say I’m crazy… there’ll come a time when everything
will change….”, then the beautiful harp part and then the words
“… some people cry while others die …”
I only regret that I never had the chance to meet the man, both in
his city or mine.
Thank you for the opportunity to write this.