JOE LYNN TURNER – Live at Madam Felle/Bergen
Former Rainbow and Deep Purple vocalist Joe Lynn Turner always delivers a great show and the one at Madam Felle in Bergen the other night was no different. The rather small and intimate venue was packed and the first few rows of fans erupted into something akin to ecstasy when Turner and his talented cohorts walked on stage around 11 PM. The band wasted no time and launched into "Death Alley Driver" off the excellent Rainbow LP that is "Straight Between the Eyes". A fiery and energetic show opener for sure. The set list included such classic Rainbow cuts as "I Surrender", "Jealous Lover", "Stone Cold", "Can’t Let You Go", "Spotlight Kid", "Street of Dreams", "Drinking With the Devil", and "Stranded". I truly enjoyed listening to and experiencing the songs pulled from Rainbow’s overlooked "Bent Out of Shape" record in a live setting, namely "Stranded", "Street of Dreams", "Can’t Let You Go", and "Drinking With the Devil". They were delivered with punch, power, and enthusiasm, and they went down pretty well with the fans. Other songs such as the breathtaking "Endlessly", the melancholy "Dreamin’", and the epic "Rising Force" were superb while it was cool to hear "Dark Days" being performed live. The inclusion of the latter was a surprise to me, so that was pretty cool. The show closer was a wicked medley of Rainbow’s "Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll" and Deep Purple’s "Lazy" mixed with a few solo spots by drummer Darby Todd and the others.
Turner sounded superb and the gig was solid all the way through, but the actual sound at the venue was rough and uneven, which was a bit of shame. In addition, the backing vocals were slightly lackluster and had a tendency to come across as flat and slightly out of tune, which is to say that they did not really contribute anything to Turner’s razor sharp voice. JLT is the consummate pro and knows exactly how to whip the crowd into a pure rock ‘n’ roll frenzy, but unfortunately, some of the back rows appeared totally apathetic at times and some were clearly only there to drink that night, which was weird considering the fact that we are talking about a living legend here who once fronted Rainbow and Deep Purple. Anyway, the performance itself was memorable and entertaining, and, like I said earlier on, Turner always puts on a good show. Personally though, I would not have minded seeing him again on a bigger stage somewhere in Norway with a crisp and powerful sound emanating from the stage and a room full of hardcore Rainbow/Purple fans.