Thursday, 23 June 2016

Another Sigh of Relief

Tuesday night broke a three year musical fast for me. I had worked at the last "Rhodes Rock" festival that was held here in Lindos in June 2013, after which it upped sticks and went to Spain. There was a "Lindos Music Week" the following year but, perhaps rather unfairly, I didn't investigate it, thinking it a probable disappointment after the dizzy heights that the Rhodes Rock extravaganza had reached before it left us all bereft.

In 2014 the first Lindos Music week was scheduled, but I'd been given the impression by my former employers at RR that the carnival may well once again be putting in an appearance and so was left a bit confused. Probably I wasn't alone there.

In 2015, Lindos Music Week showed no signs of going away and "Rhodes Rock" scant signs of returning so I began sitting up and taking notice of what LMW had planned. OK, so there wasn't going to be a venue on quite the size of the stage at the far end of St. Paul's Bay that RR used to use, plus there would be no Floyd band playing in front of the ancient amphitheatre in Lindos village, but a respectable number of bands seemed to be lined up and there was a Floyd band among them. The only problem I had last year was the fact that I was working on a Greek Night on the same date as the Floyd band and thus had to miss it (sulked for weeks).

This year, having seen the advertising and hard evidence that this new event was building year-on-year, I decided that I would give it a go and attend at least one of the gigs. The band "Floyd in the Flesh" were playing the Amphitheatre Club, Lindos, supported by Dizzy Lizzy and Bigfoot

For starters, I'd never set foot (not even a big foot) inside the Amphitheatre before and so was curious. Let's face it, the place is usually packed to the gills in the small hours with the young and the beautiful (and, no doubt nowadays, the tattooed), dancing I'm sure to the latest tunes that grace the young folks' pop charts. I'd be rather out of place, not to mention driven mental by the sounds anyway. I'm an old hippy and the idea of DJ thingabmybob and snazzy chazzy wrapping (for wrapping read: shouting aggressively) away over a persistent thumping beat and synthesised backing isn't really my glass of ouzo.

This time though, the stage was set for some decent rock music, culminating in the music that I grew up to, that of the awesome Pink Floyd. Let's face it, there have been so many great bands and artists, yet what band still captures the hearts and ears of every upcoming generation of serious music fans more than the Floyd? Anyway, I was going and, just for a change the better half consented to come along too. That, my friends, was a real result.

We hadn't been inside the venue for more than a few minutes before I decided that it was the best venue on Rhodes for a rock concert. Open, of course, to the night air and twinkling stars, the brightly illuminated Lindos Acropolis gracing the view from the bar terrace and a full moon rising as the 2016 summer solstice night wrapped itself around us, this place truly is perfect for an intimate evening of musical nostalgia. It may not hold quite as many people as the square in front of the old Amphitheatre down in the village, but it's a close-run thing. The wall (get it? I amaze myself sometimes) one sees from the outside is deceptive. The place is much bigger inside than I'd expected. Plus, there's a hard floor everywhere, no dust, no ants' nests (I stood on one once at Rhodes Rock, didn't realise until half my lower leg was crawling with the little wotsits).

We arrived as Dizzy Lizzy were just getting into their stride. The fella who plays Philip Lynott is perfect. If you didn't know he'd left us, you'd swear this was him...

Incidentally, to see all the photos I took at the gig, including those of Floyd in the Flesh, click here.
Thin Lizzy were one of those bands about which one so often thinks, "Well, they didn't do all that many songs I'd recognise, did they?" Turns out they sure did. I can't claim to have ever been a dedicated fan, but I might just invest in an album or two after this. Dizzy Lizzy's score in my humble book of tribute band excellence? Ten out of ten, no hesitation.

After the stage was re-set it was time for Floyd in the Flesh. These guys will forgive me if I'm wrong, but they're still quite new at being a Pink Floyd tribute band. First and foremost, they are all excellent musicians. I, speaking as a humble bassplayer of old, plus having played flute in my school orchestra and also plucked a mandolin now and again, can lay claim to being able to discern such things (just establishing my credentials here folks, ta) and you may take my word for that.

They started off just slightly shakily, the vocalist and bassplayer Daniel Heenan on more than one occasion actually apologising for his slightly (in his view) off-tone vocals, putting it down to the climate change he'd experienced on being out here not only in June, but in June during a heatwave for us! TBH I'd have not mentioned it Dan, I thought it was just a case of settling in, which I reckon it probably was because you got better with every number.

Apart from some niggles with guitarist Andy Pennington's amp now and again, which meant we didn't get the benefit of some of his excellent solo work, they nailed it. They darn well nailed it. According to my understanding the female vocalist (who'll forgive me for not remembering her name) didn't have as much rehearsal time as she may have liked, but boy did she send shivers through the audience when she did the extremely intimidating (for her perhaps) Great Gig in the Sky. My hair was on end, as I suspect was that of most of those in the audience who still had any. That piece takes on an even greater poignancy since its composer Richard Wright has sadly been taken from us by the big C.

Highlights for me? Undoubtedly the fact that they tackled the 25 minute long Echoes, which is my favourite Floyd piece ever. The twin soloists worked a dream and on several tracks took turns at being David Gilmour, but during the massive solo, which just builds and builds into the crescendo at the end of Comfortably Numb, my eyes were growing moist. Each guitarist took a section of the solo while the other reverted to the chord sequence which we all know and love, the result being for me one of the best end sections of that song I've ever heard. And I have to say, I've heard a few, including the actual Pink Floyd themselves.

A few photos of FITF...

Lindos and the Acropolis, across the bay from the venue.

The Great Gig in the Sky. Definite tingle factor moment.

Bassplayer and vocalist Dan Heenan. He'll forgive me for saying that he looks like he belongs in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention! Damn fine player though and made a pretty good fist of both Waters' and Gilmour's voices.

One of the guitarists, Andy Pennington, whose appearance put me in mind of the great Johnny Winter now and then. I'm a sucker for comparing people. It's an affliction I have to live with.

As mentioned above too, all the photos are here.
In conclusion, what can I say. I am able to heave a massive sigh of relief that rock music is once again not only alive, but in strapping health here in Lindos. If you are in any way tempted, are perhaps slightly miffed that you missed this, then fret not. The Lindos Rock 2017 event is already well along in its planning and you may like to check out the links below:

Rockers Reunited Facebook page
Rockers Reunited website (Lindos Rock 2017 page)
Lindos Rock 2016 Facebook page
Lindos Rock 2017 Facebook page

Ageing hippies everywhere, who love Greece and even more so Lindos on Rhodes, you may now officially rejoice that every June you can once again combine a holiday in one of the most beautiful and evocative places in the Med with a good dose of great music.

It's a pretty safe bet I'll see some of you here next June, right?

PS - I neglected to mention that if you reside in the UK, you'll be able to see Floyd in the Flesh next year, as they're setting up a string of UK dates. Go see them.


  1. I was at that gig and agree with you. A truly wonderful Pink Floyd band, sure to go from strength to strength.