8. Take Two

Jon Lord, Martin Mendez, Martin Axenrot

Jon Lord by the grand piano, reaching out for the score. Behind the Hammond organ, bassist Martin Mendez and drummer Martin Axenrot from Opeth are visible.

Jon Lord reaching out for the score on the grand piano. Behind the Hammond organ, bassist Martín Méndez and drummer Martin Axenrot from Opeth are visible.

They’re getting ready to launch into “Bourée” again, this time with sound on Magnus’ keyboards.

A Swedish Anecdote

Since this is a photo of Jon Lord with two Swedes, I guess this is as good as place as any for a little anecdote from Sweden.

In the Summer of 1996, Deep Purple were touring Europe on the back of their strong first album with Steve Morse on guitar, “Purpendicular“. I’d seen them in London in March the same year, great concerts. Then a weird Summer tour of Sweden was announced. Ten dates in all, scattered all over the long country. As it turned out, the Swedish Summer of 1996 turned out to be one of the colder Summers – Pär Holmgren, metheorologist, if you’re reading this I’m sure you can supply weather statistics for 1996 in the comments field.

Anyway, some friends and me, basically the same guys who had travelled to London in March, decided to go to the concert in Smögen, on the Swedish west coast. Smögen is a pictureque, sleepy village, beautifully located on the coast, which comes alive during Summer time with lots of holiday guests.

But this day was cold and rainy. The temperature was around 10 Centigrades, there was light rain, and there were probably not much more than 1,000 people gathered on a football stadium basically in the middle of nowhere. There were posters at the site for the next concert there – Smokie. Enough said.

Deep Purple played a good set, conditions considered. But it was cold, raining, not all that many people, and I was standing a bit to the back on a football stadium. This was nothing like seeing them at the Brixton Academy a few months earlier.

Anyhow – we knew the band were staying at the Smögen Hafvsbad Hotel – I’m not sure there’s really any other places to stay. So we went there, and surely, the band came, and at least Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Jon Lord stayed for a while in the hotel bar, having a drink and chatting with the likes of us.

I’d been in touch with them through what was then known as the “Deep Purple Homepage” (I think there was just a couple of thousand web servers in the world when we put it up in 1994, unless my memory is playing me tricks) and the Usenet newsgroup alt.music.deep-purple. So, talking with Jon (“My fingers felt like sausages”, he commented on playing in the cold weather), he suddenly lightens up, remembering I’m Norwegian: He wants to play some Grieg!

He says Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen” was (one of) the first pieces his piano teacher in Leicester taught him, he wants to play it, and hey, there’s a grand piano here!

But dang. It’s locked.

So we head over to the young bartender and ask for the keys.

But – this being Sweden, he just says: “No. Sorry. Hotel regulations.” Norwegians have this impression of Swedes being overtly careful to follow all rules and regulations, so I’m not surprised. But several of us try to tell the young Swedish bartender that there’s a world famous keyboardist in front of him, who wants to play some classical music in his bar. But “No, sorry, it’s after midnight, we can’t do that, the guests will be upset”.

So I never got to hear Jon play “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen”. Until this day. Jon has written a tribute to Edvard Grieg (and to the Trondheim Soloists, who he’s worked with several times, and several members are in the orchestra this evening) which he’s called “For Example“. (E.G., get it?)

And at the very end of the piece, Jon has included a quote from “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen”. As a tribute to his old piano teacher, to Edvard Grieg, and to the Trondheim Soloists.

And so, 14 years after the rule abiding bartender in Smögen, I finally got to hear Jon Lord play a little “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen”.

“For Example” from the concert in Trondheim


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