It happened….today!

Being bereft of leg for the last few months due to small argument with a ladder and the ground I have not been able to get out to gigs. Fortunately my able chum Stephen Doyle (Salford City Radio Tuesdays at 10pm and Wednesdays at 8pm) was able to take up the opportunity, on my behalf,  to attend a recent gig at the Band on the Wall, Manchester,  from legendary prog-rockers Curved Air, who I first saw live in 1972 at Northampton Cricket Club.

Here is SD’s report on proceedings:

Curved Air 1

You have to go back to 1970 to discover the origins of progressive rock legends Curved Air. Formed through the chance meeting of  violinist Darryl Way  and guitarist/keyboardist  Francis Monkman the group evolved out of the band Sisyphus, after recruiting singer Sonja Kristina. Signing to Warner Brothers the band had a successful run of hit albums and singles, including the memorable “Back Street Luv”, before dissolving in the mid 70s. Following various band names and line-up changes the core of the original band got back together in 2008 with Kristina leading the re-formation. The band have toured extensively and released a number of albums since then. November 12th 2015 saw the group appearing in Manchester.

Although I am an obsessive music fan their records had passed me by until the early 90s, when my wife Yvonne and I got together. She was a massive fan and had seen them live at the Free Trade Hall Manchester in the early 70s. One Xmas I bought her 4 CDS from good old Fopp Records (a fiver each!) and grew to love their unique sound.

Over the years Yvonne and I had discussed going to see them when I had noticed them in gig guides, but it had never come to pass.  The November gig in Manchester seemed too good a chance to miss a long held wish to catch them in concert.

The Band on the Wall is a great venue. We positioned ourselves right at the front of the stage. The only other original member of the band playing the gig was drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa. The current band are all exceptional musicians, with a lot of flair and freedom of expression, but it was all about the lovely Sonja for Yvonne and me. Yvonne was in tears from the first song. By the brilliant “Melinda More Or Less” I had “something in my eye” too. They played tracks from their 2014 album “North Star” and a host of old classics including Back Street Luv, Marie Antoinette, and It Happened Today. Unfortunately the band did not play Phantasmagoria though, a fave of Yvonne’s, despite us shouting for it all night!.

Curved Air 2

Yvonne even had a “moment” with the lovely Ms Kristina where she reached out and clasped her hand. As I have said, the musicians were superb and, entertained for well over 90 minutes.  Even though I am a  died in wool punk rocker I have always had a soft spot for the old “prog” and they didn’t disappoint. Sonja has a beautiful voice and I look forward to seeing them again soon.

At the end of the gig we met the band in the adjacent bar and had photos taken with them, which was a thrill for me and especially Yvonne, who regaled Sonja of teenage fandom for her! I tried to interview Sonja for my radio show with my Iphone, but a few too many pints of Warsteiner made me press the wrong button! Oh Well!

Lets hope its not not 40 odd years till the next time!

Curved Air 3

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