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Love with Arthur Lee - De Montfort Hall, Leicester

If ever you feel disillusioned and lost in the mire of wondering whether new music will inspire you then perhaps it's time to revisit the old masters. Tonight I'm reminded by the incomparable Arthur Lee and his Love Orchestra. 'Forever Changes' Love's definative album of 1967 is given a faithful rendition, complete with string quintet and mariachi horn players.

Arthur whose age isn't certified but who may be 62 (though it doesn't show) is elegant and marshalls his band superbly. Dressed from bottom to top in glittered cowboy boots, faded black jeans, buffalo herder shirt, stars and strips bandana and a black stetsun hat (with leopard skin wrap around), picks out the notes on his Fender Squire electric of "Alone Again Or", it's funny how strange rumours surround legends...he's supposed to be eccentric and arrogant and yet almost 40 years on his music is alive (I bought a t-shirt to prove it!).

They say the distinction between genious and a madman is measured only by success. He's every right to be slightly jaded, 'Forever Changes' in my mind is easily as good as 'Pet Sounds' or 'Sergeant Peppers'. Lyrics like, "I feel so funny when my name is .......Phil." and "The snot has caked against my pants, it's turned into crystal" prove this conclusively. His voice has been ignored by the ravages of Father time and we are blessed by a superb performance of almost two hours and 3 encores. Rounding off I wanted to say how I wished their were more bands out there that had a magnificent and absurd vision and despite everything that conspires against it, they see it through without compromising, but you know, I won't bother because it's just been done before my eyes....Arthur Lee and Love, we salute you.

Socrates Villa-Lobos


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