Manfred Mannís Earth Band

March 6, 2010 - De Pul, Uden (NL)


If you love to see a band perform their original hits in the best possible way donít go to a concert from Manfred Mannís Earth Band. The band had several hits in the past, which are well known to a lot of people. Those songs are most certainly on the bandís setlist, but they love to improvise on those tunes. Some of those hits get an extra instrumental intro. Cover versions from songs from other bands are also included. Long instrumental passages are also very common. The gig at De Pul in Uden, not far from my hometown in The Netherlands, was no exception and had all the features I did mention. But what I did see at the start of the concert was something I had never seen during a rock show. The bandís drummer Jimmy Copley got on stage with crutches. Jimmy broke a bone in his foot two days before the tour started in Sweden. He was travelling home from London Paddington to Bath Spa, when he felt unwell and collapsed, catching his foot on the seating. He was taken off the train at Swindon and given medical care; the next day he got it x-rayed to discover a broken bone.

But Jimmy wanted the "show to go on", so against doctors' advice and all the pain and discomfort, he sat behind his drumkit during the performances in The Netherlands. And doing a very good job, I must admit. I could not hear that he had a handicap. Bravo! One of the bandís biggest hits was the opening tune. But Spirits In The Night was not sung by the original voice on the record. This was strange because the voice of Mick Rogers was available. He does all the guitar playing in the band and from time to time he sings some of the songs. But instead new vocalist Pete Cox did the job. Most people do know him for his work with Go West. The guitar solo on the song was very good, almost as good as on the original version, but I guess Mickís voice made the song a lot better. The first track that sounded different was Marthaís Madmen. First an extra instrumental intro. The song also got some extra solo spots from Mick Rogers on guitar and some synthesizer soloís done by Manfred Mann. All sounding very tasteful. It was just too bad that Manfred had not taken a real Moog synthesizer with him. This way the synths sounded a bit thin. Also Bruce Springsteens Dancing In The Dark started differently. It featured the classic song House Of The Rising Sun. Solo spots were also on the menu. We could enjoy guitar, synth and bass soloís. The last one was done by Steve Kinch. Before we could enjoy a brilliant version of Father Of Night, Father Of Day Mick Rogers did a short blues solo spot. During that short intermezzo I noticed the second strange thing on stage. Manfred went horizontal behind his keyboards. He hardly did move and the other bandmembers did not notice him at all. But it had nothing to do with any health problems as I found out later on. His days on the road at his age (he will be 70 in October) make him tired from time to time. He did prefer to stay on the stage during Mickís solo spot and this was a nice way to take a break for a short moment. More hits were done next. Songs such as Blinded By The Light and Davyís On The Road Again. All with extra musical features. The first track had a great synthesizer intro and the second one had even more synthesiser soloís and a band introduction as well. Some more blues music was included in a song which they titled Worksong. It was not my favourite part of the show, but the crowd loved it. It became very clear that the voice of Pete Cox is very suitable for this type of music, especially on most of the more progressive rock orientated material. At the end of the regular set Manfred himself went to the front of the stage and asked the audience if they knew why they did not leave the stage for the final encore. It appeared that the Dutch audience most certainly have some brains and gave him the right answer. Drummer Jimmy just could not get up from his drum kit and stayed to do Mighty Quinn without leaving the stage. The classic Deep Purple riff from Smoke On The Water was included as usual. But we could also enjoy another old Manfred Mann tune from the sixties: Do Wah Diddy Diddy. It was followed by a short part of James Brownís Sex Machine. The crowed loved it all and sang along to everything. It just brought them in a very good mood and gave them the idea that they had spent their Saturday evening the best way possible. They had seen a band in great shape that still knows how to entertain an audience, no matter how old the musicians are. Bravo!

Text & pictures by Henri Strik (edited by Astrid de Ronde)††

Manfred Mann's Earth Band Website



Setlist:

Spirits In The Night
Castles
Martha's Madman
Captain Bobby Stout
Dancing In The Dark
Father Of Night, Father of Day
Don't Kill It Carol
Worksong
Blinded By The Light

Encore:
Mighty Quinn

Pictures Manfred Mannís Earth Band by Henri Strik

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up:

Manfred Mann:
Keyboards and backing vocals
Mick Rogers:
Guitars, lead & backing vocals
Pete Cox:
Lead & backing vocals
Steve Kinch:
Bass & backing vocals
Jimmy Coply:
Drums









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