My little red book
This year's Roskilde Festival was host to 71,000 guests - a sell out. And after quite a
bit of rain the first days, Saturday stayed dry and fairly sunny, as fans of all ages
flocked to Roskilde's Green Tent, until it was close to packed. Love's show commenced just
after 6 in the afternoon, and Arthur and his boys seemed energised right from the start by
the opportunity to play for an enthusiastic audience in the thousands. And as the show
progressed it was again an amazing sight to see many many young teens mouthing the words
to the songs and dancing in ecstasy, some shouting out the words in sheer joy. Arthur
danced, too, obviously enjoying himself tremendously, and the show's highlight's were a
thundering rendition of "7 & 7 plus many songs taken from Forever Changes album
and accompanied by the Swedish string quintet and horn trio - a fantastic addition which
made the songs into loving and almost exact versions from the original record of 35 years
All in all it was an unforgetable 90 minute mixture of the softly souful and melodic - and boistrous high energy rock. Arthur and the boys should feel secure using the Swedes again on the talked about Forever Changes tour if they are available.
From Expressen - Swedish Newspaper:
Hello, New York!, says Arthur Lee and then attempts with much difficulty to remove himself from his jacket. I mean, an entire nursery school class could undress themselves faster! We suddenly find ourselves thinking that just maybe the boat is about to be rowed without all of its paddles in the water and wonder if the legend in front of us is, indeed, ready for his comeback.
But, in the end, he probably just wanted to scare us a little. Minutes, no, seconds later into My Litle Red Book, it is clear that he has "returned" after is time in prison. He holds his head high and even throws in an extra verse in Live and Let Live, commenting on the shooting drama that eventually led to his imprisonment, where he set off a warning shots after a neighbour complianed that he was playing music too loud from his apartment
At Roskilde, there were no neighbours to disturb and Lee could play as loud as he wanted. And its just probably why out of pure playfulness, he performed so quietly in order that the small accompanying symphony orchestra could be heard so clear. He played songs from the mighty Forever Changes. You Set the Scene and all of the other orchestrated songs are delivered here, complete with the lush support of its strings and horn arrangements.
This is the kind of music that was created when the phenomenon of the Rock Festival began. It wouldnt be an exaggeration to say that Arthur Lee and his Love were one of the reasons that Rock Festivals were created. Now, this kind of music is returning. And as long as the hip-hoppers keep continuing to cancel their shows (the most common Roskilde sickness), its the guitar-bands that will still dominate the Festival. And both the young and the stone-age.
"With Love From.."
By Dorte Hygum Sørensen
If one happened to stumble by the Green Stage unprepared, one might well wonder,
"Who is that strange middle-aged black man singing like the most fantastically clear
and orange-colored mirage?"
And all the while his young rock quartet and their supplementing string quintet and horn trio, performed a well-played set of psychedelica, with the strings floating like swollen clouds and the rock accompaniment shifting amazingly easily from magical visions to intense blues.
The thin Southerner with a bandana and cowboy hat, and his unique dancing bounce in his cream colored cowboy boots, is Arthur Lee from Love. Once upon a time, 35 years ago, he created one of rock´s best and most lasting albums - Forever Changes.
After serving 6 years for weapons possession and threats of violence, Arthur´s once more free. Free to perform his old songs, and to show that Love is still the greatest of all. How in the world does he do what he does? It´s a mystery.. And without mysteries there is no fantasy.
Translated by Michael West
From Ekstra Bladet:
Six weeks ago, Arthur Lee from the former 60's icons, Love, gave a formidable concert in Copenhagen. And so expectations were naturally running high for the legend's performance yesterday at the Roskilde Festival, after it was announced that the American's dynamic back up band would be supplimented with a string and a horn section. It was a welcome addition, of course, but only on a handful of songs during the 90 minute set - and only one song, the gripping Andmoreagain surpassed the heights of the concert in May.
The happiest news is that Arthur Lee sounds fantastic with or without an orchestra, and 35 years after the release of Forever Changes he is still capable of recapturing the poetry, mystique and soulfulness of his exceptional songs.
Translated by Michael West
Retro With a Reason
By Klaus Lyngaard July 1, 2002
Can I give you one good reason why 60´s legend Arthur Lee has assembled a little
orchestra that slavishly, but with sensitivity, succeeds in recreating the sound and
feeling of the Los Angeles´ group, Love´s first 3 records - with emphasis on the
masterpiece, Forever Changes from 1967?
Not really., other than his show was groovy, in places gripping, and generally captivating - as when the proto-punk bomb "7 & 7 Is" blasted out of their p.a.s - or when "Between Clark and Hilldale" tele-transported the listener back to L.A. ca. anno 1966!
And it certainly didn´t hurt the show to have a genuine string quintet and horn trio add to the colourful clothing of the refined, teasing and tactile compositions from the melancholic-psychedelic Forever Changes - one of rock´s first thoroughly orchestrated albums.
Even though Lee seemed small on the huge Green Stage, he didn´t seem daunted by the less than full house and he gave the show everything he had in him. And no wonder - after more than five years in jail, 5 years in which his early work was being re-evaluated and re-appreciated as the missing link between the Byrds and the Doors - no wonder he had the great desire to sing the songs on which his whole reputation rests. And he did it with a refinement and an attitude many young musicians could learn something from.
The concert was retro, but as it pointed back to one of rock´s richest epochs and was performed with such spirited skill and sensitivity, one would have to be an ungrateful swine not to lean back and enjoy the ride.
Welcome back, Arthur - your weirdness is invigorating!
Translated by Michael West
Photo from http://126.96.36.199/user/ericiver
From Weekend Avisen:
By Lars Villemoes
STAR-FILLED MOMENTS & A FEAST FOR THE EARS
(C.V. Jørgensen's poetic concert..) ..was a perfect lead-in to one of the festival's few great historic scoops, namely the veteran West Coast genius, Arthur Lee performing with his excellent young musicians in Lee's resurrected group, Love, also supplemented on many songs by a Swedish string quintet and horn trio. That the more than middle-aged Lee, who after the original Love's breakup had a bumpy and frustrated musical career, can continue to sing with a voice so miraculously silvery, shiveringly beautiful as well as youthful, as with this concert which featured all the highpoints from his classic albums like Forever Changes and De Capo, and delivered like one long string of pearls, seemed to this listener like a living miracle. But the legend, Lee, who floated around the stage, dressed in hippie hat and elegantly swinging his tambourine, had all his great songs with him, from Alone Again Or, Between Clark & Hilldale to Signed D.C., She Comes in Colors and 7 & 7 Is. Songs that, with their refined balance between fertile energy and melancholy ambiguity - and with a perfect arrangement and orchestration delivered with a deep-going emotionality and lyrical tone palette, embraced folk music, flamenco, Mexican barrio, classic easy listening, soaring string arrangements - as well as the finest elements of 60's rhythm & blues - and all performed so strikingly elegant, vitally current and deeply personal, as when they were written over 30 years ago!
Translated by Michael West