Post by sleepwalker24 on Jun 4, 2011 18:22:20 GMT -5
I thought I'd post a review of the concert I went to on Friday. Please bear with me, I'm not the worlds best reviewer!
Donovan, Royal Albert Hall, Friday 3rd June
For those of you who might not know, Donovan's concert at the Royal Albert Hall was to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Donovan's third album; the innovative and psychedelic 1966 album Sunshine Superman. The Sunshine Superman single got to number 1 in American and number 2 in the UK and was inspired by the then girlfriend of the Rolling Stones' Brian Jones, Linda Lawrence (who would later become Donovan's wife.) Jimmy Page was a session muscian on Sunshine Superman before the days of Led Zepplin (I also read on Wikepedia that Jimmy Page also contributed to the Kinks debut album!)
Anyway, I arrived at the Royal Albert Hall about 45 minutes before Donovan's performance, the RAH is probably Britains most prestigious concert hall and it certainly is impressive! I wasn't sure who the support act was but shortly before Donovan's performance I found out that it was Newton Faulkner. I have to admit that all I'd heard by him was a song called Dream Catch Me (a song my brother played me) and I wasn't expecting to enjoy his performance that much - I was pleasantly suprised! I actually really enjoyed his performance and his friendly and down to earth banter with the audience. The songs were actually really enjoyable and he seemed like a nice guy (I actually spotted him leaving after the whole show was over) He ended his hour long set with a really cool, and quite amusing, rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody!
So Donovan comes on at 8.00am after being introduced by his daughter Astrella Celeste, who looked very elegant in a fitted blue dress. She would continue to relate little bits of Donovan's life in between songs, throughout the concert. Donovan walked out on stage looking very cool in his flowery shirt and waiscoat and kicked off the show with early hits Catch The Wind and Colours. After that he was joined by the London Contemporary Orchestra and performed several more of his most well known songs - Universal Soldier, Mellow Yellow, The Hurdy Gurdy Man, Jennifer Juniper, Barabajagal - to name a few! I especially enjoyed Jennifer Juniper, a personal favorite of mine, and he totally rocked out on Barabajagal! I was chuffed to see that he was using his famous guitar, the green one with the little deer on it! After about an hour there was an interval before we all waited excitedly for Donovan to come back on stage and perform his Sunshine Superman Album in its entirity. The orchestra played for a few minutes to build up mormentum, a few people started to get restless and some bloke shouted out 'Hurry up Donovan!' to which a member of the orchestra replied 'I think he's having a joint!' Anyway, the second half of the concert kicked off with Sunshine Superman and Donovan's joined by a special guest - Jimmy Page! At this point there's a lot of noise and excitement and people seem genuinly suprised! We're treated to the entire album, practically note for note. Donovan is also joined by folk musician Shawn Philips (who played sitar on the SS album) They do a few songs from the album ( Three Kingfishers, Guineveve, Ferris Wheel ) whilst sat on cushions on the floor together. It was at this point that I noticed Donovan had no shoes on and that he was wearing bright purple socks! ;D I really like the sound of a suitar so I really enjoyed these songs, they almost send you into a trance! Donovan was joined by a young man for the song The Trip, and each took turns to sing the different verses. This is a personal fave of mine from the SS album so I really enjoyed it! We found out later in the show that the young man singing with Donovan was his son Donovan Jr Jimmy Page's guitar playing helped to make Season Of The Witch really rock, it was really great!
After the last song from the album was performed, Donovan's son and daughter both hugged their father and Donovan's wife Linda came onstage (quite fitting as many of the songs on SS were inspired by her) She presented him with some beautiful flowers and Donovan thanked everyone. Astrella turned to her dad and said 'I'm sure everyone would like to hear you sing some more. How about doing Atlantis?' Donovan honoured this request and at this point a fair few folks left their seats and walked up to the stage. As I was only 2 rows back I thought I might as well join them! Donovan Jr and Astrella remained on stage and sang along to Atlantis (another favourite of mine We were also treated to a second rendition of Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, again Donovan Jr and Astrella joined in. Donovan himself seemed to really enjoy himself and I'm sure everyone else did too!
After the show I walked outside to see that a group of people were hanging around outside the stage door. Word was that Donovan hadn't left yet and people were waiting to see him and get albums signed. I already had an album in my bag just incase but after waiting nearly 40 minutes we were told that he'd already left I hung around awhile longer anyway and got chatting to a really friendly couple about the show, the Kinks and various other things! Some people remained to try and catch a glimpse of Jimmy Page but it was gone midnight and I had to catch the last train so I had to go.
Here's a cool video I found on YouTube of the second rendition of Mellow Yellow. If you look carefully you'll spot Jimmy Page, Astrella and Donovan Jr. You'll also see the flowers he was given. There are also some cool shots of the audience towards the end of the video, giving you a good idea of just how big the hall was and how many people wewre there.
And here's a really charming, recent, short TV interview with Donovan, where he talks about Sunshine Superman, and getting together with Linda
Hopefully I'll add some photos tommmorow evening when I get them onto my computer - if I got any good ones that is!
What an amazing concert that must have been! And your account really captured the flavour of it. How cool that two of his kids joined him during the show (and I love the idea that he had his daughter provide some narration between songs). I can just picture his purple socks as he sat on the cushion. Too bad he didn't greet fans at the stage door (perhaps he was having another joint ) but you can't have everything. Sounds like a brilliant show, and I'm so glad you got to be there.
Thanks for sharing this Sunshine Super Review. Got to meet Donovan at Beatlesfest here in the states a few years back. He was quite gracious to all the fans at that time. Sorry you didn't get a meet & greet -- but that show sounded fantastic!!!! Surely worth the trip.
We're your seats close, your photos look quite near the stage?
Post by sleepwalker24 on Jun 6, 2011 18:16:25 GMT -5
Your welcome Smiley How lucky that you got to meet Donovan I hope you got a photo! I imagine him to be a really nice man Its not like I was really expecting to meet him but when I saw all those people gathered at the stage door I thought I might be in with a chance. I was pretty dissapointed but it was still a great night. And yes, I was near the front, second row back
First of all, thanks for a very detailed review of your Donovan concert experience at the Royal Albert Hall ! If someone asked me if I was Donovan concert experienced?, I'd probably have to say yes !
I did want to mention that perhaps Jimmy Page played some role on the first Kinks lp, but the false rumors he's helped perpetuate that he played lead on You Really Got Me are utterly false and I cringe when I see that repeated over and over online over the years! Please know that this comment is not directed toward you sleepwalker but just an example of me wanting to commiserate with fellow Kinky fans about one of the myths that's been out there which further helps to underrate our beloved Kinks in the minds of far too many !
I'm glad you enjoyed the opening act; that's a bonus !
I also really like Jennifer Juniper; a 45 record of that song that I picked up in the late 80s was the only music I owned by Donovan for many years ! I believe you introduced me to the song Barabajagal by posting it on the forum so I am glad he rocked out on that one !
Sorry you didn't get to do a meet, greet, and signing with Donovan ! But the way you describe it so vividly, it sounds like you had a fantabuloso evening !
Your friend took some nice stage shots too !
Last Edit: Jun 7, 2011 1:57:32 GMT -5 by bamajohn1
Post by sleepwalker24 on Jun 7, 2011 5:53:58 GMT -5
Thankyou for your feedback John! I can't say I've ever heard those rumours Jimmy Page helped perpetuate about him playing lead on YRGM of course theres no mistaking that Mr D Davies performed that groundbreaking solo! I was just led to understand that Page worked as a session muscian on the Kinks debut album and perhaps contributed guitar to some album tracks. And I know your comment wasn't directed at me John so no worries there my friend!
Yes, the opening act was great, I told my brother about it as he really likes the song Dream Catch Me by Newton (i'll have to post that in the Great Music Video's thread sometime as its a pretty cool song )
I believe you've mentioned liking Jennifer Juniper before - such a sweet song!
There was actually a VIP meet and greet at the RAH before Donovan's performance. You could buy tickets for it but as you can probably imagine - it was VERY expensive
Yes, some of the photo's came out pretty good, considering they were taken with a small mobile phone camera. Got some videos too but whilst the picture quality was good, the sound wasn't There are some really excellent video's up on YouTube from the concert though I hope to borrow a camcorder for the Ray concert on the 19th so I can hopefully get a good video!