In 1977 I discovered classically trained Don Airey his awesome keyboard skills and exciting work on a wide range of vintage keyboards when I bought the album Electric Savage by Colosseum II,
one of his first musical projects, at the age of 29.
More than 30 years later Don Airey has turned into a rock veteran after playing/touring with the late Cozy Powell, Babe Ruth, Gary Moore, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, The Strawbs,
The Michael Schenker Group, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Eddie Hardin, Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Bruce Dickinson, Brian May, ELO, Black Sabbath and recently Deep Purple,
what an incredible musical curriculum vitae!
Early January this year Don Airey started to tour for eleven days through Europe (UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium),
for me a perfect reason to watch one of my Hammond organ and Minimoog synthesizer heroes.
On his tour Don Airey was backed by a very experienced band featuring drummer Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull, Blodwyn Pig, Robin Trower, Manfred Mann, Jack Bruce, Gordon Giltrap, Steve Hillage,
Solstice, Uli Jon Roth, Glenn Hughes and Jerry Donahue), bass player Laurence Cottle (Black Sabbath, Sting, Cher, Seal, Eric Clapton, Alan Parsons, Bill Bruford and Mike Oldfield),
guitarplayer Rob Harris (Jamiroquai, Kylie Minogue, Gary Numan, Colin Blunstone and The Pasadenas) and singer Carl Sentance (Krokus), a jawdropping series of famous bands and artists!
Despite the low attendance (only at about one hundred spectators, mainly male and forty years or older), the atmosphere was great due to the enthusiasm of the entire band.
The band was led by the excellent singer, what a powerful voice and what a professional performance.
Don Airey his band played many songs of the strong and varied new album A Light In The Sky: the propulsive instrumental Ripples In The Fabric Of Time,
the Rainbow-like songs Shooting Star and Endless Night, the Stray Cats inspired rockabilly track Rocket To The Moon and the wonderful rock ballad Love You Too Much (tender piano runs).
Of course Don Airey treated the crowd on "classic rock" covers: Deep Purple’s Black Night ("Hammond time" and strong vocal performance), Rainbow’s All Night Long and Lost In Hollywood,
The Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’ (Don Airey surpasses Steve Windwood in an extended rendition) and Gary Moore’s Parisienne Walkways (outstanding guitar performance by Rob Harris).
Especially in those compositions Don Airey delivered many swirling solos on his majestic Hammond A100 with two Leslie boxes.
He let it moan and groan, he swept the keys with his hands, he hammered it with his index fingers, what a master on this very distinctive tonewheel organ and the fans freaked out!
His work on the Minimoog Voyager (a 2002 version of the classic D-model) was also worth to watch, including sensational use of the pitchbend button and dazzling flights on the keys.
For me it was a memorable Don Airey evening (topped by a pleasant colourful lightshow, credits to René Haak),
De Boerderij was often a Hammond Heaven but Don Airey was only able to shine so brightly because of the magnificent support of his band, thanks gentlemen!
Place mouse on picture to stop slideshow and view photograph longer!