January 23, 2009

Don Airey: Live in Zoetermeer, interview

Don Airey
Live @ De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands - 2009/01/22 - photo: HCTF

Take a couple of seasoned players with tons mileage in different bands and use the parts to put together a brand new car. Don Airey took his band through the bulk of his solo album A Light In The Sky as well as songs of the various bands he used to play in at a show in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands.

Carl Sentance

Performing for a small but appreciative audience the band got off to a flying start with two high energy rockers ( Spotlight Kid, Bad Girl) before embarking on a musical journey through space - with Don Airey explaining how Pale Blue Spot was inspired by a photo of the earth shot by a satellite millions of miles away. Back to Earth with a couple of Rainbow tunes (All Night Long, Lost In Hollywood) interspersed with Ozzy's Mr. Crowley.

Rob Harris

The band came back for two encores, with the Colosseum II instrumental Parissienne Walkways serving as a breather among the crowd pleasers Since You've Been Gone, Black Night and Gimme Me Some Lovin'.

The band:
Don Airey: keyboards
Carl Sentance: vocals
Clive Bunker: drums
Lawrence Cottle: bass
Rob Harris: guitar

Don Airey & Carl Sentance Setlist:
  1. Spotlight Kid
  2. Bad Girl
  3. A Light in the Sky
  4. Pale Blue Dot
  5. Andromeda M31
  6. Shooting Star
  7. Endless Night
  8. Rocket to the Moon
  9. Love You Too Much
  10. Ripples In The Fabric of Time
  11. Big Crunch
  12. All Night Long
  13. Mr. Crowley
  14. Lost in Hollywood
  15. E1: Since You've Been Gone
  16. Parisienne Walkways
  17. Black Night
  18. E2: Gimme Me Some Lovin'

The HCTF Don Airey questionnaire
HCTF has a change to sit down with Don Airey to ask a few questions before the show.

How is the tour going so far?
It is a lot of fun. Everything is running smoothly, the audiences are nice, the hotels are good. I got no complaints.

You are the main attraction on this tour. It's your name in huge letters on the posters and you are the band leader.
It's different. I got a chance to change a few things. I am stage right on this tour, next to Lawrence Cottle, my bass player. When you play keyboards, you need to hear the bass. I am stage left with Deep Purple, and it really makes a difference.

The theme of your album A Light In The Sky is space. How come?
Well, i am keen amateur astronomer. I own a telescope. As a keyboard player you need a theme to hang your song onto. I was in the car with Ed van Zijl (Mascot Records owner) and Steve Morse discussing how he must get sick with all those guitar albums. So he said: make me a keyboards album and I will put it out. We recorded the basic tracks in three days, overdubbing took a bit longer.
I had written the stuff out for the musicians to play on the album. When we are playing live everybody get a chance to shine. Take a solo!

One of the stand out tracks is Into Orbit which is just you on piano and Lidia Báich on violin. How did you find her?
She is classical player. I met her at a Pavarotti concert. I invited her to play and she came to England for two days. She learned the part quickly. We recorded it on the morning of the day she left.

Any chance of Deep Purple recording one of your songs on a new studio album?
I don't know. I contributed a lot to the last one, Rapture of the Deep. I did my bit and I was quite pleased with that. We will be recording again. There are some plans for that.

And a follow-up for your solo album?
I promised Ed van Zijl that there will be some guest appearances on the new one. I can't give you any names, though.

The market in the UK for your kind of music is not that big, compared to Holland and Germany. Why is that?
England has a very pop-oriented culture, always after the latest fad or pop star. In mainland Europe it's another story. They are more into the music itself.

Don Airey is wrapping up his European tour with two more shows:

  • 01/23 Spirit Of '66, Verviers, Belgium
  • 01/25 De Pul, Uden, The Netherlands

» donairey.com

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