Joe Lynn Turner live in Athens 2017

Joe Lynn Turner is one of the few remaining old cut heroes, a singer’s singer, a man who despite all the critique that he’s received from silly “metal” journalists about being a poseur, has made em shut their traps, by being professional and always delivering second to none performances of all the songs he’s ever sung… remember “kids” the guy came from a different era, The Beatles, The Stones etc., not Metallica and he primarily has sung in hard rock bands and not really metal, despite being able to push the pedal to the metal if/when he wishes to rock. But he’s the reigning king of melodic rock and I hope it stays this way for many years to come as he certainly doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down.
Joe Lynn Turner Athens 2017 poster

Joe Lynn Turner started a 7+1 performance “Greek Tour” yesterday, along with George Gakis and the Troublemakers and had a young band opening for them, called Method Of 3.
Ah “Method Of 3” right, I was a bit worried that I was running a bit late, since about an hour had passed from the “doors” time and I was having a bit of a hard time finding a parking space, but when I entered the club, they had only started, so willy-nilly, no problemo, I didn’t miss much. It’s obvious they are taking the name from a math term, being a trio and all, but funnily enough they became a quartet for a few songs by introducing a lady on flute and tambourine – a bit of a rarity to see a girl pulling an Ian Anderson, but yeah she didn’t perform standing on one leg, if that’s what you’re thinking. They did perform mainly covers as well as a traditional Greek song and finished with the aforementioned lady singing “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, if memory serves well, since I was going in and out of the club at that point – due to a persistent caller on my mobile.
George Gakis is well-known as a bit of hard rocking paragon, a guy who did start his discography a great few years ago and has remained steadfast in serving the melodic rock genre in his own way with his not to oft-contributions but numerous performances, being usually a talking point. With Troublemakers new and old, he did a set of covers that went down relatively well… people were starting to really fill up the club in a big way and making the temperature rising higher. There was a bit of everything and for everyone in the set, covers from Stevie Wonder, ie “Superstition” done in a hard rock way – a bit as “mistreated” as Gakis himself admitted, Chris Cornell (that grunge guy that had a good voice, despite him not liking the genre) in you know my name – the 007 theme… Whitesnake’s “Crying in the Rain” done in a slightly more flamboyant way and a medley of the first few verses from “The End” by The Doors sequing into Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” pretty much bits and bobs from all 3 parts again done in quite a sleazy “Bon Jovi way”, which was odd… when I went outside the venue momentarily to get a bit of air, prior to the aforementioned medley, I was talking with a guy I know in the payroll of the venue, who just pointed at a nearby hotel saying I’m off to get the “Turner”, which means the “spinner” if translated in Greek, (which he did in jest – calling him “Gyristroulis”) only in a timing so impeccable, as to when we saw “Lakis Me Ta Psila Rever” a composer/singer/guitarist and generally likable guy, responsible for the hit “You little Spinner, You/ Gyristroula” approaching and asking to come in, which I thought to myself “OK – WTF”! Not the likeliest person you’d expect in such a gig, but last time popular comedian Haris Romas was there so… whatever… but it all made sense once back inside, Gakis announced that the band was going to do a cover of “To Palio Mou Palto” in English with lyrics written by Sunny Baltzi, who also took care of the translation. See Lakis is responsible for the songwriting on that very dramatic song… while I was apprehensive at first, since it sounded like an “odd” attempt, I must say it was not as bad, as I had expected, obviously needing a few lyric revisions to make some sense in English, but not at all terrible… now that was the WTF moment of the night I guess, but not in a bad way, just a little weird I’d say. An any rate, Gakis did another couple of songs “Street of Broken Dreams” complete with original mandolin player as featured on the CD, but not with Turner, who was preparing to make an entrance soon after… he finished with his “signature” re-arrangement of the traditional “Mi Me Koitas Sta Matia/Don’t Look Me in the Eyes” and bid the audience farewell. Surely a quite eventful performance!
Missing not half a bit and retaining the “Troublemakers” as a backing band, JLT got on stage a little after 23.00 and proceeded to deliver one of the signature tunes of his Rainbow era with “I Surrender” as opener! Phhhh… I thought OK, not keeping this even as an encore was a bold and balsy move. Joe was in good spirits and voice, as most of all times that I’ve had the pleasure of watching him perform, but he soon got into doing his usual (as of the last few years) staple of doing “popular rock tune” covers, from when he was growing up or other “DP/Rainbow” eras songs… so “Hush” got a bit more playful, I guess, and “Gimme Some Lovin'” by the Spencer Davis Group was cool, albeit expected… a few people were voicing their disappointment, when out of the Deep-est Purple, one of Joe’s better songs with them got an airing, changing these people’s minds quite drastically, about the night turning into a “cash-grab”, because after “Stone Cold”, which brought things back into perspective, “Love Conquers All”(!) from Deep Purple’s “Slaves and Masters”, received an airing and was positively spine-chilling. He also did plug the “wine” he created along with Nikos Lazaridis vineyards, called “King of Dreams”, inspired by the eponymous song that was also performed right after the “plug”. Joe dedicated “Catch the Rainbow” to the late Ronnie James Dio, hoping he was listening and did a fine, fine job… respecting the original to a T. – nuff said!
“Roadhouse Blues”, by The Doors, was another of those “playbook” tunes, and a big request by a lot of fans – a song from his solo career “Endlessly” got an airing… Wow, it probably received one of the biggest receptions with the crowd, at least the diehards, going absolutely bonkers! That’s the stuff man! “Street of Dreams” was a welcome return to normality and his own repertoire, while “Ready for Love”, by the Bad Company, also a reminder of another great of the heavyweights of classic hard rock. Seriously I could have done without the “not-so-obligatory” rendition of “Smoke on the Water”, one of Purple’s biggest hits, but  had to endure it. The final one-two was to be the late Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B Good” dedicated to the Captrain and the classic biker anthem “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf.... given that the crowd still wanted more and after a moment of soul searching to find any song they all knew well enough to perform without rehearsal, the band and Joe did ZZTop’s “Tush” as an extra unplanned encore…
Following a bit of time to wind off, Joe came back to sign autographs and take pictures with those who wanted it, a really cool and down to earth fella but still a rock n roll legend! All in all, a cool night out, with a lot of classic rock hits, a couple of misses and quite a few surprises! Here’s then, to having him Joe perform on our shores again, sooner, rather than later!
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