Manchester Academy
UK June 10. 2002

Last Update: 13. november 2003

loveticket72dpi.jpg (18132 bytes)
Thanks to Chris Stebbens for scan of ticket.

My Little Red Book
Orange Skies
Your Mind and We Belong Together
Alone Again Or
Bummer in the Summer
My Flash On You
Live and Let Live
7 & 7 Is
Everybody's Gotta Live / Instant Karma
Between Clark and Hilldale
You Set The Scene
The Red Telephone
Stephanie Knows Who
She Comes In Colors
A House is Not a Motel
Que Vida
The Daily Planet
Singing Cowboy
Signed D.C. (encore)


Is there anything quite like the anticipation of seeing at long last a performer you've come to idolise? During my fifty years I've had that happen to me just three times. I first saw Sandy Denny in 1970 and Roger McGuinn in 1977. By the time of her tragically early death in 1978. I had seen Sandy four times. McGuinn of course, never seems to tire of touring and I shall be seeing him for the fourth time here in Manchester next week.

When a Love tour of the UK was announced in the spring of 1975, the rock press in this country was less than enthusiastic. There had been a tour the previous year with the Real to Real line-up and the reviews had been poor. In the mean time the recently released album had done little to correct the impression that Arthur's most innovative work was by then a long way behind him. All of this cut no ice with me and I could scarcely conceal my excitement at the prospect of seeing a living legend. The fact that the mind behind Forever Changes had also been responsible for False Start and Vindicator merely served to add to the magic.

I had managed to persuade a new convert to attend the Liverpool gig with me and, when we queuing up to pay (there was plenty of room on that night) we could hear a highly proficient drummer rehearsing briefly. "Suranovich!" I thought. In those days at such concerts. Men tended to dress down whilst their girlfriends went to the opposite extreme. I remember very vividly one young lady whose beautiful dress and matching hat would not have disgraced Ascot! Following a lengthy assault on the senses by UK heavy rockers Dog Soldier, Arthur Lee, John Sterling (lead guitar) Kim Kesterson (bass) and George Suranovich took to the stage. Arthur was resplendent in a metallic blue gown whilst George's familiar frizzy locks were largely concealed by a white bobble hat. Within seconds Arthur was picking out that delicate guitar arrangement that heralds Alone Again Or.

Love's 1975 incarnation were a refreshingly tight band and in sound, resembled much more the music of Four Sail (for me one of the most underrated albums of all time) than that of the early seventies recordings. It was wonderful to hear very faithful versions of August and Nothing played that night although there was at least something from every LP. At the set's conclusion, Arthur's valedictory was "I hope to see you all again sometime".

I wonder just how many of the 200 - 300 souls present for that 1975 event would have predicted that 27 years later Arthur could have packed out a venue like Manchester's Academy. I attended last Monday's gig with my mate Paul, who had been lucky enough to see one of the legendary 1970 performances. We ran a gauntlet of hopefuls desperately pleading for tickets and we were thankful that we had booked ours in early March. There have been plenty of reviews and set lists for this particular tour and so I won't provide any unnecessary duplication. I'll just say that Arthur's presence on stage was just about the most charismatic I've ever seen. Baby Lemonade serviced Love's vintage catalogue in note perfect form to an almost eerie effect. I shall mention just two songs. A House is Motel had a powerful resonance in the light of last year's tragic events with its line:

By the time I've come through singing, the bells on the school of war will be ringing.

The ending of The Red Telephone saw Arthur remaining faithful to the voice of the black slave:

All of God's children just gotta have their freedom!

Incidentally, I don't think I've ever seen written down anywhere that the line: We're all normal and we want our freedom is actually from Peter Weiss's 1964 musical play about asylums and the French Revolution Marat Sade. You can hear a whole suite of songs from this little masterpiece on Judy Collins' 1966 groundbreaking In My Life album.

And the vast and highly appreciative audience who helped to make last Monday night so memorable? Well they seemed to range in age from late teens to late fifties. But the vast majority of them were young - far too young even to have been alive at the time of the 1975 show, let alone during the strange summer of Forever Changes. And if you think that Arthur could have no finer tribute than that then think on this. A young girl next to us, who danced her way through the entire set, seemed to know all the words to every single song.

John Ward Manchester, England 16 June 2002