STORMBRINGER / DON AIREY & BAND

Friday, September 4th, 2015
Location: Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands

We can name this review part two in our three part Stan Verbraak triptych. I’ll do this one in English, because of the international aspect of the headliner this evening. The opener of tonight’s show however is the Dutch DEEP PURPLE tribute STORMBRINGER, in which we will find our good friend Rene Sterk (GILGAMESJ bass player) and Stan ‘The Man’ Verbraak on vocals. Before the show we have a few moments time to socialize with the man with the golden voice, who already announced that they had to skip “Child In Time”, because it was on DON AIREY’s set list. No worries, because there are enough songs to choose from. They could have chosen two shorter tracks, but they decided to play another long classic from these classic rock heroes. Which one? Read on, I would say.

The venue is already very crowded, when the band opens their set with “Burn”. I must admit, that the high vocal pull outs sound really fantastic. There are singers, who simply can’t copy this anymore. “Hush” (JOE SOUTH) is on next and it’s good to see that a lot of older fans still remember that PURPLE has covered this song in their early days. I think, “Fireball” is the biggest surprise of today, including a nice bass part for Rene. Replacing “Child In Time” is difficult, maybe even impossible, but I guess that we’ll all agree that “Mistreated” isn’t such a bad choice after all. It’s a bit of a shame, that the performance of guitar player Panos is a bit static. Of course, this has got nothing at all to do with his musical qualities, but thinking of Blackmore’s moves and tricks, you might be missing something here. The guitar solo however sounds great. How different is that with keyboard player Herman van Donkersgoed? I think, he must be very pleased to support one of the world’s best keyboard players here tonight. In the intro of “Perfect Strangers” we can even see smoke coming out of his instrument. Yes, Herman is smoking hot tonight. But the rest of the band is putting their best foot forward as well. You don’t support DON AIREY every day, do you? “Woman From Tokyo” is next, with another leading role for Stan’s beautiful voice. The cherry on the cake comes from “Highway Star”, with the well-known drum intro, performed by Fabian Greveling. The real DEEP PURPLE couldn’t make it to Zoetermeer tonight, but I think that they send a very suitable replacement in STORMBRINGER to warm up the audience for DON AIREY.

DON AIREY. I think, I don’t need to introduce this hero to the average classic rock fan out there. This maestro has played with the likes of BLIZZARDS OF OZZ, GARY MOORE, RAINBOW, DEEP PURPLE and if you don’t know the man by now, go stand in a corner of the room you’re in and feel ashamed of yourself for at least a full hour. So, that’ll teach you! The man has got a big back catalog to choose from and I’m glad he used it all tonight. Through unforeseen circumstances we already knew, that he would play “Child In Time”, which is a not to be missed classic of course. The many RAINBOW songs, that have earned a place in the set list, make me wonder if he will be part of the band when they will reunite in 2016 for a couple of shows. Who else will have to do the job? Tony Carey, David Rosenthal? Only the man in black will know, I guess. I think, he’ll go for a totally unknown line-up. Anyway, the first two tracks are “Eyes Of The World” and “No Time To Lose”. It’s great to see, that the band is capable of cranking out these classics. Simon McBride (SWEET SAVAGE) can’t call himself a duplication of Ritchie Blackmore (yet), but he sure knows to impress me. The songs are a sort of ‘best-of what I did so far’ set with some nice surprises. Of course it’s great to hear his fabulous intro to “Mr. Crowley”. With BLIZZARDS OF OZZ, he seldom was to be seen on stage, but Mr. Airey did the amazing intro of this classic tune and Simon gives his best shot at playing this amazing solo, that originally was done by the late Randy Rhoads of course. Another tribute to a deceased guitar player is “Back On The Streets”, originally performed by GARY MOORE. I sometimes have the feeling, that the man is still out there somewhere, but he is sadly missed by many people. I must admit, that I’d expected “Nuclear Attack”, because of the great keyboard intro, that starts this classic tune. However, Don is definitely not an ego tripper and I think he just chose songs he likes to play the most, instead of those where his input was the biggest of them all. Just get a grip of “Still Got The Blues”, which is a fine track for Simon to explode in some awesome guitar playing. Then it’s time for some JIMI HENDRIX. A bit of a surprise maybe, but it’s to cover the drum parts of Darrin Mooney, who played in PRIMAL SCREAM and the GARY MOORE BAND. His drum solo in “Fire” sounds wild and exciting. More HENDRIX follows with “Power Of Soul”, sung by Simon McBride. Then the not so surprising “Child In Time”. Well, almost not surprising, because the intro of this million selling song is done in a very innovative way by Laurence Cottle, who worked with THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, BLACK SABBATH (“Headless Cross”) and BILL BRUFORD’S EARTHWORK. I think, that many eyes were set on the vocal abilities of Stefan Berggren (COMPANY OF SNAKES) in this one, because it’s an extremely difficult song to sing. IAN GILLAN did a perfect job back in those days, but the high notes may cause some difficulties. Well, chapeaux Stefan, because you did an excellent job here and I could see that colleague singer Stan watched him do the job from the side of the stage and nodded that it was good, too. An outstanding job for someone, who regularly had to read the lyrics from his iPad. After that, it’s time for him to take a little break, because RAINBOW’s “Difficult To Cure” is next on the agenda. The “Ode To Joy” is hummed along too by many fans and Don catches some more rainbows at the end of his show with set closers “All Night Long” and “Lost In Hollywood”, both done in a very good way. On the original list were “Over The Rainbow” / “Brandenburg”, but this didn’t make it tonight. Same goes for the first encore, which should have been “Since You’ve Been Gone”, the RUSS BALLARD penned RAINBOW classic. The only encore we’re treated on is the wild DEEP PURPLE anthem “Black Night”, before this musical push back in times is really over. Also “Bloodsucker”, which is on the list, remains unplayed. It would have been another nice surprise, since I love that song from “In Rock”. You don’t hear me complain though, because this has been a fine walk down to memory lane with these two bands.

*Text and photos by: Toine van Poorten

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