Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles
USA, May 30. 2003

Last Update: 03. oktober 2003

 Photos from the rehearsal

  It had to happen some time, and sadly, out of the four Love shows I´ve seen so far, this was the first where Arthur´s voice was just not up to the job.  Perhaps he was ill, as he seemed a lot more reserved and ´holding back´ in his performance for most of the evening - he hit the stage with a lot less confidence than I had seen previously.  At least on an instrumental level, the Forever Changes set was awesome.  Vocally it was hit  and miss.  Arthur actually didn´t seem to be able to hit the lower range on "A House is Not a Motel", but "Old Man" sounded beautiful.  Fortunately the capacity crowd at Royce Hall was very supportive.  Arthur finally did seem to relax a bit despite the vocal troubles, doing some great ´conducting´ during "The Good Humor Man...".    
By the encore things had really picked up, Arthur did probably the most amazing harp solo on "Signed DC" I´ve yet heard.  The big news for this gig, of course, was that Johnny Echols came out for "7 and 7 is",  with an amazingly touching introduction from Arthur.  The guitar he came on with was kind of out of tune, but he did an awesome job on the end solo.  (and Arthur said "I have a funny feeling we´re going to be seeing a lot more of him...")  Finally, Jay Donellan was brought out for an aw-dropping "Singing Cowboy" (w/ strings and horns), which fortunately ended the show on a very high note.  In some respects it was disappointing, but only because his voice has been so amazingly good at all the other shows I´ve seen.

Eric Kempke 


by Natalie Nichols -SPECIAL to LA TIMES

Live orchestrated rock isn't rare nowadays, but it was back in 1967, when iconic L.A. band Love released "Forever Changes," its eclectic, enduring third album.
It sits in the pantheon of influential Southern California collections alongside the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds," but leader Arthur Lee still took 35 years to muster a full performance, complete with an octet of strings and horns flavoring his groundbreaking blend of folk, pop, flamenco, blues and jazz.
Friday's sold-out "Forever Changes" concert at UCLA's Royce Hall wasn't as grandly conceived as Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson's "Pet Sounds" show in 2000 at the Hollywood Bowl.
Yet despite such problems as a muddy sound mix, the performance was highlighted by Lee's stellar current incarnation of Love, rendering "Forever Changes" entirely and in order with classical-instrument accents in all the right places.
Such moments were delightful, with clarion trumpet notes invigorating and levitating the hushed verses of "Alone Again Or," a cushion of strings providing lush counterpoint.
Lee played much guitar and a little harmonica, seeming distant at first but eventually warming up.
He offered bits of background and commentary, noting the relevancy of "The Red Telephone," which resonated in a line about locking up people and throwing away the key, and in the ominous rumination, "I wonder who it'll be tomorrow, you or me?"
Although Lee's oblique poetry freed the songs from ties to a specific era and place, his voice belied their timelessness. His singing was disappointingly rough, never more than serviceable, and sometimes nearly drowned out by musical crescendos and obnoxious fans shouting inane comments as if at a sporting event.
Fortunately, the joyful expertise of this Love — the Los Angeles quartet Baby Lemonade, a longtime Lee collaborator — did much to buoy the hour and 45 minutes.
Guitarist Mike Randle's marvelously bluesy-to-psychedelic solos were especially impressive, remaining distinctly his while reproducing the style of original Love guitarist John Echols.
Echols himself guest-starred during an encore rendition of the hit "7 and 7 Is," and a later Love guitarist, Jay Donnellan, played on "Singing Cowboy," which he and Lee co-wrote.
These surprises further offset the disappointments, making "Forever Changes" a mostly satisfying, once-in-a-lifetime experience.