Terry Reid has been a major inspiration
to Jeza's music since the early 1970s
|Infamous for turning
down the job as lead singer for Led Zeppelin,
|but introducing Jimmy
Page to Robert Plant and John Bonham instead ..
the rest is a mystery - Why was this man never a LEGEND ??
| I watched Terry Reid
play live many times in the early '70s and he inspired me more
than most ..
|Based in LA, Terry Reid's
first visit, as a solo performer to UK in 25 years, was on 14th
Vic Newman and I went to
the London Palladium to meet our hero by the stage door
| Inspired by his reception
in the UK, he has continued to play a few rare gigs recently
including three shows at the WOMAD
Festival 26-28th July 2002 - a true master rock vocalist
|Terry Reid at the London
|The last of three well
received, low-key performances by Terry Reid in the UK, supporting
Nick Lowe, was in London at the Grand Old Music Hall theatrical
surroundings of the London Palladium. I was sat in the front
row of the circle, with people on either side of me asking Who's
that?, completely turned on by the experience that was, Terry
Reid playing an unannounced solo acoustic show in London for
the first time in 20 years. For me as a musician and songwriter
myself, heavily influenced many years ago by his unique, laid
back, happy go lucky sound, innate sense of phrasing, and one
of the finest rock and roll male vocals you are ever likely
to hear, it was a real privelege to watch this show .. I was
there to see Terry Reid, not the other bloke
| It was a very intimate
performance, despite the magnitude and spleandour of the Victorian
theatre. It was like being on Terry's porch at home or at an
acoustic evening in a small club. He made mistakes, his voice
cracked here and there but Terry is a real trouper, and carried
on with a sparkle in his eye and a magnificent stage presence.
He was not, the worse for wear, but let's say 'happy', and in
his element doing what he does best and loving every moment
|I wasn't noting down
the songs in order but he played a set similar to the previous
two nights. Including the oriental flavoured, r'n'b tinged 'Hong
Kong'. For the 3rd number, he played the classic 'Seed of Memory'
having swapped guitars for one which was unfortunately not keeping
in tune. Half way through the song the worst happened, a string
snapped. (Every rock and roller's nightmare). But with only
a brief moments hesitation to remove the offending string, quickly
tuned as close as .. and continued the song on the very next
phrase with a high note, as if nothing had happened. Though
his voice cracked a little with an obviously stressful situation,
he soon took command of the song and finished it with only 5
strings in best form. Commenting later, 'It was in tune when
I bough' it !!'. Several people, including Terry could have
happily shot the goofball roadie that reappeared twice over
the next ten minutes with the badly tuned guitar. Terry further
commenting, 'must be one of those weird Joni Mitchell tunings'
|He finally gave up trying
to retune it, instead picked up Nick Lowe's acoustic guitar.
Which was tuned a full semi-tone higher. He resisted retuning
it but was about to launch into the 'Elvis' style number, which
required some typical top of the range Terry vocal gymnastics,
so at the London gig we were treated to top of the range, +
1. Almost straining. He got an extra round of applause for coping
with the guitar and roadie problems .. and gave a fine performance
of Waterloo Sunset in the right key.
|Perhaps too many covers
for my personal taste. I really wanted to hearmore original
Terry Reid, but it was a great show. It's the voice more than
anything that I came to hear Despite the little faults and embarrasing
moments, Terry's performance was a dream. He hasn't lost an
ounce of his vocal charm or almost awkward, Latin American soft
rock guitar style, or stage charisma. And that broad cheeky
Sarf London cockney accent. Straight out the marketplace.. You'd
never know he'd been holed up in LA for 20 years. As I believe
Nick Lowe commented. He should have been massive.
The knee in the air routine. I'd almost forgotten the way he
does that. You get these funny little 'exit stage left' cartoon
dance movements from time to time accentuating the beat. He
looks good folks. Smartly suited. Sporting a 3 muskateers pencil
mustache and pinstripe goatee beardette, with hair half way
between respectable middle aged rock star and old hippie. Kinda
raggedy look, but no mistaking it was our Terry, back after
20 years. And in London. End of the show he simply said goodnight
and walked off, no time in the tight schedule for an encore.
|Show over, I met with
a few friends in the sardine packed, smokey main bar, and finally
got our drinks in by the time Nick Lowe's set started, so the
remaining 6 people hanging out to enjoy their drinks were obviously
the unofficial die-hard London Terry Reid fan club. And so we
met, and chatted about the show. Joined soon by another couple
who walked out of Nick Lowe after two numbers. They didn't realise
Terry was on the bill but were old fans anyway, so pleasantly
surprised by the show. Drinks over we got to thinking so where
is Terry hanging out - I want to meet that man.
|So we boldly strode
off together to find the backstage bar to try and sweet talk
our way in. With perfect timing, as we arrived backstage, so
Terry himself popped out the door for a breath of air. Just
the man we came to see. We stood in a group chatting candidly,
joking and posing for photos for around 25 minutes. Some stories
about hanging out Graham Nash or Brian Wilson. He signed my
original vinyl of 'The River' and went away with a copy of my
own CD 'jeza wined up' in his pocket.
|I mentioned that we
(in the group of 6) all first saw him play at the Roundhouse,
which he remembered clearly with raised eyebrows and a quick
quip about the drips on his head. I also handed him an email
that I'd received from Henry, a man that lived down his street
in Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard California a few years ago
(printed recently in the TR guest book). Out came the reading
glasses and he remembered the sender as one of 'the surfers'.
So a fun time and lifelong ambition connection made with my
'hero', a very down to earth guy.
|Hands shaken, autographs
and photos taken, and a few seeded memories dusted off. Some
real eye contact.. I asked if he was recording a new album,
but he said he records though he can't afford to make an official
release .. Resigned to his fate, but I think for Terry it was
a real buzz to meet some devoted UK fans, that 'tawk proper
English' I think he genuinely enjoyed the trip. He had to change
from his stage clothes so we invited him to join us at O'Neills
over the road. He never showed up, or he forgot that the pubs
shut at 11 o'clock in the UK, but meeting the man himself was
well worth the price of admission .. I really hope he comes
back next year with a full band. Although in saying that, his
style and timing acoustically would make him a difficult player
to play along with, I'm sure he could still pull out a storming
electric set like the old days at Glastonbury or the Rainbow.
|Oooh Baby, You make
me feel so young ..
|JEZA - October 2001