Focus at Philadelphia, 2 shows, different years

review-by: "Benjamin Neiman"
date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002
country: USA


Focus played in Philadelphia on the Hamburger Concerto tour on a bill with Chick Corea and Return to Forever and Leslie West and the Wild West Show. Chick played first, and I had never heard them before. Bill Connors played guitar and he blew my mind! Next up was Focus, and my dream since hearing Moving Waves for the first time was to hear them live.

Jan Akkerman was dressed in Black top with Black leather pants and a Red scarf. He played his Gibson SG guitar and they performed Hamburger Concerto in its entirety. The sound was reasonably good as The venue( The Spectrum) is a big Hockey Rink. Hocus Pocus and Sylvia were played of course, and the group was well received, although the show was not sold out.

Leslie West came out next and though I love his guitar work they were truly awful! At one point Leslie fell down with his guitar and rolled around on stage. I was on cloud 9 about Focus, I didn't want to ruin the memory so we left. The other Focus show I was blessed to see (sorry, I cannot remember what year these shows were) was at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby with Blue Oyster Cult as the support act. Jan again wore black and this time played his Gibson Black Beauty Les Paul guitar. They were awesome that night and I remember feeling sorry for BOC guitarist Buck Dharma who got blown off the stage by Akkerman! Thijs seemed really inspired as well that night and, unlike the Spectrum, the sound was great as the Tower Theater is a movie theater with only 2000 or so seating capacity and you can hear from anywhere in the place. They were headliners that night, so I remember their set being longer and more relaxed than at the Spectrum when they were sandwiched between 2 other groups.

These concerts were 2 of my most treasured memories. Thanks to Peet for the suggestion to write this in the reviews section, Chuck Cobb for being a great friend, Willem Hubers for bringing helping to bring Focus back into our lives, and Rodrigo Mantovani for creating and maintaining the greatest musical website I have ever seen- obviously a labor of true love!

Benjamin Neiman.

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