The Warren Benbow Band

Jimi Hendrix. Jeff Beck. James “Blood” Ulmer’s Odyssey Band. London.

Jeff Beck/Odyssey Band at Jimi Hendrix Tribute concert-London 2005

Patti Smith’s Meltdown
Meltdown: Jimi Hendrix-Songs of Experience?Extracted from Maddie’s blog on June 29, 2005I’ve just realised something I left out of the last entry, which was the man across the aisle from me who was beating time to the encore – not by tapping his foot, like everyone else, but by, er, slapping his stomach. I thought that deserved a mention.
Anyway. Sorry this one’s late; I hope I can remember everything that happened properly! I’ll have a go.
We arrive at the Royal Festival Hall in London earlier this time, because they’re auctioning off all the stuff from the ‘Meltdown on the Ballroom’ (it was a sort of relaxation area for people to sit in with all these sofas made from crates and stools made from buckets and stuff). It turns out that some of the things they’re selling at fixed prices, and only some of them are being auctioned. Gordon comes to eat a
When we do go in, we’re sitting a row in front of the one for Horses but on the other side of the hall. It’s a good seat, though I can’t see any roadies doing anything amusing. So I start reading the set list thing we’ve been given (“Ooh good, Flea’s of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers is doing Third Stone From The Sun,”).
The lights go down, at last, and Patti and her band walk on. “Welcome to Meltdown 2005, Songs of Experience,” she says. The backdrop to the stage, I should point out, is a big psychedelic picture thing of Jimi Hendrix, which turns into a montage of a big psychedelic film thing when Patti begins the concert with a fabulous rendition of ‘Are You Experienced?’ She has made a rather bold choice of pink stripey leggings, which somehow manage to look fairly normal on her. I have no idea how she does this. There’s a great guitar solo from Lenny, before Patti finishes with the words “James Marshall Hendrix,” and leaves to great applause. Though not, I might add, from Ed Harcourt, who doesn’t clap. I am appalled.
Sek Loso is next on stage. I’d looked him up when Dad told me who was going to be in this concert, and really liked the sound of him: his story was something like he’d been working in a child labour place thing in Thailand but somehow managed to get hold of a guitar and learnt how to play it. He sent off a demo tape aged fourteen (I think), which was so good it got released as an album. He’s on our side of the stage, but I can’t see him because the other people on with him are blocking my view. It doesn’t matter. His rendition of ‘Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)’ was probably the high point of my evening. I finally catch sight of him — he’s wearing some rather fetching sunglasses, and gets really into the song.
The only problem is that I can’t read my set list properly in the dark and she hasn’t announced who’s next — luckily for me, a voice behind me says “Oh, the next one is… James Blood Ulmer’s Odyssey.” Thanks Ed.
I’ve never heard of them, but they must be famous-ish at least because the photographers that were there for Patti at the beginning of the concert come back to take pictures of them. They play ‘Who Knows’, which is very loud, and ‘Machine Gun’, which has some excellent drumming by drummer Warren Benbow, (the drum solo is great). People are still leaving though. I am confused by this. What, don’t they like it or something? They can’t all need the toilet.
There is now a long, long pause before the more high-profile act of the evening. A large proportion of the audience decide, for a reason that is unknown to me, that it would be a good idea to whistle loudly and for a long time. They do so until Patti finally appears to say, “Ladies and gentlemen. The jewel in our crown – Jeff Beck.” The photographers, to nobody’s surprise, rush back in as he walks on with his other musicians to begin with ‘Hey Joe’. Now, I love this song with a fiery passion, and they certainly do it justice. Ed is missing a treat. The only thing is, Jeff Beck doesn’t sing anything (he doesn’t do singing, y’see) and he therefore has no microphone. Which means he, er, doesn’t say anything. Which is a bit odd, since he’s the top-of-the-bill artist and all. Some man from the audience goes down to stand in front of the stage in a rather Bez-esque fashion, with no concern for the fact he looks a bit mad. I don’t know who the singer is, but he has the vaguely irritating habit of pacing constantly around the stage, meaning that half of Dad’s photos have him blocking Jeff Beck, and the other half have him as some kind of blur of peach-coloured… blurriness. “Jeff Beck!” cries the singer at the end, in case we’ve already forgotten who it is.
Next is ‘The Wind Cried Mary’, during which the dancing man is joined by a dancing woman so at least he’s not on his own any more. The singer does actually say the names of the rest of the band at the end of this one, though I don’t quite catch them. The singer’s name might be Jimmy Hall, but I’m not sure. They do ‘Red House’, which isn’t on the set list but is very good. And guess who’s back? Ed Harcourt creeps back into his seat behind me halfway through. The singer picks up a tambourine for this one, though how he thinks we’re going to hear it I haven’t a clue. Well, if it makes him happy. The singer decides to point at Jeff Beck at the end of this one. Yes, we do know who he is. Half of the audience are only here because they know he is. Why don’t you tell us who you are, since each and every one of us is fully aware of both Jeff Beck’s presence and name? “Jeff Beck!”, he shouts anyway, ignoring me.
Never mind – it’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ now! Patti turns up again and decides to sing this one, which the singer, bless, was obviously not expecting. In the end he wanders around the stage and bangs him tambourine a bit instead. I get a bit distracted as Ed shifts around a lot and kicks the back of my seat a couple of times – ow – and then my camera batteries go, sadly, though Dad’s are still ok. I note that Patti is wearing brown boots with her pink leggings. Hmm. How she pulls it off I don’t know, but she does. Dancing bloke looks like he’s having a seizure of some sort, and – to my utter amazement – people are still leaving. What? What’s their problem? The final song on the set list is ‘Manic Depression’, which is performed wonderfully. There is fanatical applause as everyone leaves the stage, and Ed runs off, never to return. A load of people leave, again, even though it clearly says ‘ENCORE’ at the bottom of the list.
The encore does indeed take place. A few people come down to the front for it like they did the night before, but not as many this time. On come Lenny and Tony, but the crowd is not satisfied. “We want Flea! We want Flea!” Blimey. He does turn up, to a cry of “Flea you’re cool!” from someone in the audience. Patti is next on, and talks for a bit before the final song. She says she’s enjoyed the festival and made lots of new friends, though she is very tired. It doesn’t take long to turn into a well-received political rally – “Keep protesting!” she cries, “tell that motherf**ker he does not own the world! He can’t reinvent freedom. The brand of freedom he’s spreading is not our freedom!” They perform their final piece after this, ‘1983 (A Merman I Would Turn To Be)’. She needs words for it, but all of them play and sing it excellently. Dancing man, who has now been joined by the dancing crowd (but is still easy to pick out among them: I’m worried he’s going to either injure himself or injure someone else any minute) catches the lyrics, screwed up into a ball, that Patti throws into the audience (though at the time I thought it was a tissue or a hankie). The song comes to an end with the same words with which the concert began – “James Marshall Hendrix. Meltdown 2005.” The words ‘experience’ fly to the front of the screen which has been playing the psychedelic Hendris footage for the past few hours, but due to what I assume was a hurried mistake they fly a bit too far forward so that the screen reads ‘xperienc’. It’s kind of sweet.
P.S. Pictures up now – ‘Horses’ folder has been changed to a ‘Meltdown’ one. Same thing about clicking at the top applies, if you would be so kind.
*Mum has pointed out that her email address could be his, since it’s @harcourted (Harcourt Education).
Extracted from Maddie’s blog

April 19, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. For more info on my book and where to purchase please go to the link below:

    You can watch and hear a short video/interview of me here:

    Warren’s drum solo in Warsaw, Poland at the Jazz Jamboree:

    You can hear my Cd’s @:

    Comment by warrenbenbow | December 9, 2017 | Reply

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