CURVED AIR, 2012-03-02 (E)
vrijdag, februari 3, 2012

In the late sixties a young girl was asked to be the lead singer in a band founded by Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Rob Martin, Francis Monkman (Sky) and Darryl Way. The band was called Curved Air, named after a Terry Riley composition A Rainbow in Curved Air. The band featured several distinct characteristics, first: the lead singer was a girl, but the band didn't play folk music, so Curved Air was one of the first bands fronted by a genuine 'rock chick'. Second, Monkman played both guitar and keyboards and was using the latest developments in keyboards and third, the band had a violinist.

Curved Air was a progressive band in the real sense because the band mixed folk music, classical music, pop and rock music and invented their own style copied by none. In spite of numerous changes in the lineup, Sonja Kristina fronted the band for over seven years and played a role in all reunions that occurred at a later stage. She lived with Stuart Copeland (The Police) for about sixteen years and had three children, but nonetheless she never parted ways with her music. A few years ago the band reformed, featuring Florian Pilkington-Miksa, Darryl Way, Sonja Kristina, Chris Harris and Andy Christie. Along the way Christie was replaced by Kit Morgan and Darryl Way by Paul Sax. This lineup toured Europe and fortunately Cultuurpodium Boerderij managed to book the band. Chaos all over the Netherlands due to the winter and especially the snowfall in the western part of the country made the band arrive very late and probably a lot of people who would have come under normal circumstances had decided to stay at home. Only around 150 people attended the show, but nevertheless atmosphere, sound and lights - as always - were superb in the venue. The band even started on time and it became a great trip down memory lane with all those tracks from the early seventies.

Sonja Kristina, probably a grandmother now, is of course not the handsome slim teenager she used to be, but what was far more important: her voice was still very powerful. Although she had some trouble with the higher notes, the sound of her voice is still very recognizable and had become a little bit more mellow and warm, a quality that her singing lacked to a certain extent some 35 years ago. The band played very well. indeed, especially guitarist Morgan handled his six-strings extremely well. Especially during the instrumental pieces Armin and large parts of Vivaldi and Metamorphosis it Obviously, these guys were more than accomplished musicians. During the folkloristic track Melinda Sonja played her acoustic guitar and although I'm not entirely sure about the running order the band didn't play Purple Speed Queen, a beautiful song that was on the printed setlist.

Nostalgia all around and in contrast to other concerts, like Roger Waters or Rush, there were almost exclusively people in their fifties attending. I feel sorry for Sonja Kristina and the band because the quality of the songs and their performers should have justified a sold-out venue. I do hope this is not a sign Dutch music lovers are going to stay at home for the rest of the year. The show lasted about 1 3/4 hours and people got the opportunity to buy stuff from the merchandise booth after the concert, if desired autographed by Sonja Kristina. The other members of the band were present too and were open for a chat. The only problem of this lineup might be the lack of composers... somehow I hoped they will prove me wrong, but so far I'm quite happy these marvelous songs from some forty years ago are presented the way the were. Though it took me almost 3 1/2 hours to get to the venue instead of the usual one hour and fifty minutes. Surely am glad I made the effort. One of the first real progressive bands from the UK is still alive and kicking, so be there next time and relive the early seventies!

Setlist: Armin, It Happened Today, Young Mother, Melinda, Propositions, Screw, Easy, Hide and Seek, Midnight Wire, Phantasmagoria, Marie Antoinette, Everdance, Back Street Luv, Metamorphosis, Vivaldi, Stretch.

Encore: Woman