Luke's and Edgar's presence to the 25th anniversary of the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, Holland, was as much unforgettable as it was risky. "Of course we knew that we were playing at an honourable jazz festival with honourable jazz lovers," Luke stated right after the concert, "but in the end we felt we had to do our own gig. For a moment it got into our heads to play some jazzy stuff, but on the other hand we loved to take our chance to rock the place down. That's why we started for all that with that blasting Smell yourself. It was great fun to watch all those puzzled looking faces during the first few minutes. It wasn't too loud for this crowd, I hope?"
Indeed, the Lukather and Winter fans knew what to expect from this set, but during the concert more and more music lovers crowded the Statenzaal to have a great (rock) party in the first place. In a 70 minutes set Luke (guitars, vocals), Edgar (keys, sax, vocals, percussion), Phil Soussan (bass) and Gary Ferguson (drums) played a well balanced mix of own songs and some classic rock & roll, blues and rhythm & blues stuff. After a raging Smell yourself (Lukather) in top gear and the midtempo Edgar Winter bluesrocker Texas (from the latest Winter album Winter blues), they slowd down to the beautiful homage to our brother Jeff Porcaro, Song for Jeff (Lukather). Luke was getting visibly emotional during the jazzy part of this song, where he used some Jeff Beckian techniques to play his hommage over the edge. Even the most hardened jazz fans were impressed by such a showcase of musicianship.
After this musical highlight it was time for one of Luke's and Edgar's favourite blues songs Red house (Jimi Hendrix) and Edgar's gospel like ballad Fly away (from the 1977 White Trash album), that loosened Luke's fingers and legs to a warming-up for the rock part of the show. The heavy rock part opened with the Chuck Berry classic Johnny B. Goode, showing Luke and Edgar as the real rockers they are. After all Luke and Edgar used to play this rocker many times before during their individual careers. Luke for example with Jeff Beck and Santana at the Lotus Gem concert in 1987 and Edgar with his brother Johnny on Second Winter (1969) and his own Edgar Winter Band. After a dark, heavy version of Tobacco Road (J.D. Loudermilk) the Odd Couple ended the show with another highlight, the Edgar Winter classic Frankenstein (from the 1972 album They only come out at night).
"If you see some weird white hair, and some strange red eyes, don't let it give you a scare, you should realize, it's not a monstrosity that you should fear, if you've got some curiosity, then listen here. One thing that only comes out at night is Santa Claus, and those elves never show themselves until it's dark (...) And if there's a full moon, the wolfman will howl us a tune, look out for ol' Frankenstein." That's what Edgar rhymed almost thirty years later in the title song of They only come out at night on Edgar's latest album Winter blues.
What really came out at the first night of the 25th North Sea Jazz Festival was a superb concert by four first class rock & roll musicians, playing right from their hearts and souls in the first place and giving the audience what's important even on a jazz festival: an unforgettable musical party! A party on a solid basis, with rock, blues, some jazz, lot's of fun, lot's of improvisation, bringing the audience and each other to many ectasies.
SteveLukather.com, July 14th 2000