Roy Harper – Royal Festival Hall – Candid photos of Roy

While in the dressing room I managed to take a few close-up photos of Roy that I quite liked.

I hope to get a few more tomorrow night at Edinburgh – the riotous last night of the highly successful tour!

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Roy Harper – Royal Festival Hall – A few of the people in and around Roy.

Long gone are the days when Roy would hitch-hike to a gig clutching his old battered guitar in even more battered case and using the club PA. Playing a venue such as the Royal Festival Hall requires an army of people and a great deal of organisation. Recording Roy’s albums requires great skills from a number of people. The publicity shots have to be great.

Here’s a few of the people who were involved behind the scenes.

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Colin Curwood (left) is an amazing photographer who has been involved with Roy right from the early days. He took most of the great early publicity shots. Brilliant stuff. John Leckie (right) is the soundman from Abbey Road studios who was responsible for recording most of Roy’s Abbey Road albums and producing One Of Those Days In England.

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Henry attended his first Harper concert at the age of three. Rebekah is at her first. John Leckie has also worked with other lesser people (such as John Lennon, George Harrison, Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Clash, Fall and Stone Roses) p1130627

Fiona Brice took over from the late great David Bedford who arranged orchestration on Harper albums and concerts. She did a brilliant job of organising the strings and brass for this tour and has applied David’s arrangements with great skill. They were a triumph.

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Darren Crisp used to be Roy’s Manager. Now he manages the tours and other stuff and has the job of pulling it all together. Quite a responsibility! He has to tie up all the loose ends and organise Roy. No mean feat. He does a great job which is why it works so seamlessly.

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Tracy Harper is the tower of strength behind Roy who liaises with everyone and keeps everything rolling.

Now the whole circus is heading for Scotland for tomorrow’s final concert in Edinburgh. It should be quite a party. Roy has come back with a bang!

I’ll be there! Looking forward to seeing you all!

Roy Harper at the Royal Festival Hall – Ye Vagabonds – A great Irish support.

I unfortunately misnamed the great MacGloinn brothers! A name not to be missed.

Opher's World

The support gave us a beautiful start. The two MacGloinn brothers from Dublin going under the name of Ye Vagabonds had perfected their harmonies to create a brilliant lilting delivery.

Only brothers can achieve such purity of harmony. We’ve heard it with the Louvin and Everly Brothers and Ye Vagabonds continued the tradition. Great musicians, a gorgeous blend of voices, soft textured melodies, lilting songs and personalities that shone.

It set the evening off to a great start.

So in Edinburgh – get there early or you’ll miss something well worth seeing (and hearing)

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I had a chat with them afterwards and they were smashing guys who were loving the experience of supporting Roy!

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Roy Harper – Fifty Years of distillation of spirit – reflections from the Royal Festival Hall.

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Watching Roy closely through the day as it progressed to the concert in the evening and his performance on the night, left me with a sense of wonder. There was so much composure and meticulous control. This was a master at work honing every detail into place and crafting each song into perfection. He worked with the other musicians to create music that was sublime. Roy was totally focussed, listening intently, evaluating and weighing things up. He had the vision to deploy the strings, brass, double bass and accompanying electric guitar to augment and expand his songs, to bring out new slants, and to develop them into something greater.

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It set me reminiscing.

Fifty years ago I watched a manic young man, thin and hungry looking, clutching a battered old acoustic guitar, storming into the place with the force of a hurricane. He flung out vitriol, invective, humour and love in a machine gun rattle permeated with manic laughter. That young maniac was a law unto himself. There were no limits, barriers or performance. He unleashed himself upon the world. It was intimate anarchy. The songs were no different to the words. There was no stage patter. There was an open door into a mind in which the world was being analysed, society castigated, and the direction we were heading vilified with fury in desperate diatribe. Songs were interrupted by the volcanic flow of ideas as the lava of his mind poured forth in an unrelenting torrent. Nothing was taboo. There were no restrictions. He burned.

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Back then there was no performance. We were a group of friends sharing, growing and learning. The stage was his front room.

Nobody was doing anything as daring. At times it was a psychoanalysis session, at others a stoned rambling, an unleashing of angst, an outpouring of emotion, a humorous interlude or an intense display of musical creativity. It depended on his mood. He did not put on a performance so much as visit with you and share his songs, attitude, argument and mind. It was an experience. The songs were exceptional, the playing magical and the outpourings always intelligent, pointed and thought provoking. The man was a genius.

Of course, it did not make him universally popular, apart from with a group of similarly minded fanatics – denizens of the underground. Most people prefer shallow entertainment. They do not want to be bombarded with the failings of our leaders, the control exerted on us, the destruction of the planet, war, death and destruction.

As his popularity grew there were shouts from the audience ‘Get on with it!’ as people became fed  up with the lengthy anecdotes or thoughts. They were there for the songs. But I was enthralled. The songs were fabulous, but so were the ideas, asides, stories and perceptive insights. What they wanted was a sublime performance of the more beautiful songs. What they got was the whole uncompromising package.

Roy never really saw himself as part of the biz. Yet he loved and respected the music he was creating and in the studio he crafted it into as near to perfection as he could get – even if that meant twenty minute epics with content guaranteed to enrage critics and ensure no air-play. Roy played The Game and never played the game.

It was precisely because of this uncompromising stance that Roy never achieved the giddy heights he should have.

Now at the age of seventy five the passion is still there but the fires have died down. He is polishing the diamonds. There are no cries of ‘Get on with it’ they have mutated into ‘We love you Roy’. We have the performances he was always capable of and I have my memories of that fiery lunatic who seared his dreams into my ears.

 

Roy Harper – Royal Festival Hall – Soundcheck – Roy, Beth Symmons and Bill Shanley – Photos

Roy was rehearsing a great skiffle-type version of Don’t You Grieve with Beth on a pounding double bass that she slapped around with gusto while Bill Shanley added some brilliant slide guitar.

It brought the song to life and I managed to get a few interesting photos of the two of them. Roy was loving it.

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Roy Harper at the Royal Festival Hall – Ye Vagabonds – A great Irish support.

The support gave us a beautiful start. The two MacGloinn brothers from Dublin going under the name of Ye Vagabonds had perfected their harmonies to create a brilliant lilting delivery.

Only brothers can achieve such purity of harmony. We’ve heard it with the Louvin and Everly Brothers and Ye Vagabonds continued the tradition. Great musicians, a gorgeous blend of voices, soft textured melodies, lilting songs and personalities that shone.

It set the evening off to a great start.

So in Edinburgh – get there early or you’ll miss something well worth seeing (and hearing)

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I had a chat with them afterwards and they were smashing guys who were loving the experience of supporting Roy!

Roy Harper at the Royal Festival Hall – Oke flew in all the way from Tokyo to be there!

There were a group of VIPs who were privileged enough to attend the sound check and have a private interview with Roy. One of them flew all the way from Japan just for the concert. I think he told me his name was Oke but I apologise if I misremember. I promised him I’d put my photos up on the web for him.

I saw him after the show and asked him if he thought it was worth it and he told me that it had been superb!!

So if it’s worth flying in from Japan it is certainly worth buying up those last few tickets in Edinburgh!

Here’s a few photos for the VIP guys and lady!

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Roy holding court.

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Looking at the cover for the new vinyl Lifemask release.  p1130686

Roy Harper – Royal Festival Hall – The Sound Check – Photos – Get your backsides to Edinburgh while you still have the chance! A magical time will be had that can’t be recaptured!

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Darren Crisp mentally checking things on the list. p1130334

Tracy checking a hundred and one things on the computer. p1130335

The Royal Festival Halls 2000 seats awaiting the bums of 2000 ecstatic Harper fanatics.

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I was told that it was OK to go and take photos in the sound check because Roy would not notice – he’d be in the zone

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Great attention was made to every detail. Linking in with Bill Shanley, Beth Symmons and Fiona Brice’s brilliant musicians.

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Roy and Bill Shanley (Hope you like these Bill?)

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Roy Harper – Royal Festival Hall – In the Dressing Room

Roy had his own personal dressing room and gave me the opportunity to take a few photos while he was working, jotting down a few last minute things.p1130267

I liked the image in the mirror and even managed to get myself in on the shot.

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Roy was extremely proud to be playing at such a prestigious venue where so many great musicians had performed. The thing that was certain was that he was not out of place among those Greats. As the audience let him know – he is one of the greats – a living legend.

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There was a music stand with RFH on it. We had a little aside discussing what Roy’s  middle name should be. We came up with Flamenco, Flamingo and Fernando. Roy thought maybe Fandango. But in the end we decided it would have to be Roy fucking Harper!

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To be able to sit in a small room while a musician of Roy’s genius practices a few songs is a magical experience. To see the craft up close is awesome. p1130311 p1130316 p1130319

Roy Harper at the Royal Festival Hall – A few Photos – Diary of a Legend – behind the scenes.

I was very privileged to spend the afternoon with Roy and Tracy before the gig. Roy was brilliant – giving me unlimited access to backstage, the dressing room, VIP interviews and sound check.

I took a ton of photos and will put them up on here so you can get a flavour of the day. It was a great pleasure to see a living legend in action.

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Roy and Tracy arriving in reception

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Darren Crisp (Tour Manager) and Bill Shanley arriving

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Up in the artists room – where all the musical greats have been

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The walls were adorned with album covers of recording made at the RFH – Chris Barber, Pete Seeger and Humphrey Littleton.

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This is where the musicians hang out with snacks and drinks. A place to relax before the show. I didn’t see much relaxing. It was all go. Stress levels were high, much was going on, there was a lot to put in place. I was the only one relaxed.