By Rosine Alleva, José Oliveira, Journalist/photographers – Rock At Night France, Switzerland, Germany
The Alsacian Wine Fair is a ten days event in Colmar, being held from 27th July to the 5th August. Since last year the change of dates have been validated by both the public and the professionals. The main animation is the ten days Musical Festival. All along the event, the heatwave was the most devoted visitor! Despite the temperature, sometimes approaching 40°, the 3rd French Fair attracted 281000 people, coming to have a good time, to party, to choose the best tractor for their garden… Let’s not forget the tasting of great local wines as Riesling, Gewürztraminer or even a very good Pinot Gris!!
Coming from different musical styles, great artists were this year again the main attraction for this 2018 edition. Three huge of them coming for the first time to the Colmar festival (SANTANA, LENNY KRAVITZ and RAG’N BONE MAN).
LENNY KRAVITZ IS BACK!!!
Four years after the release of his tenth album “STRUT”, the sex symbol with dreadlocks, “Marley” style, is back on the road for a new world Tour promoting his new album (out next September) RAISE VIBRATION. To fight against a slight failure of inspiration, LENNY has taken refuge in the BAHAMAS with his friend and guitarist CRAIG CROSS and we will hear the result soon.
From KRAVITZ 1989 debut album “LET LOVE RULE” to this RAISE VIBRATION TOUR, his message remains the same: IT WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE ABOUT LOVE! And he says it clearly on stage “We are here to celebrate love, life and to raise vibrations. He draw one of the biggest crowds of the week but in spite of the enormous expectation around his first venue in Colmar, the concert was not sold out.
Opening with the riff engine « Fly Away” », one of Kravitz’s most successful songs, out from album 5, LENNY KRAVITZ immediately gave the tone to the house! Influenced by Sixties and Seventies rock, soul and funk, he shaked up the stage with a performance that showed immediately the great musical marvels of his virtuoso musicians, with a special mention to GAIL ANN DORSEY (Bass Player) and CRAIG ROSS (Guitar & Vocals).
LENNY KRAVITZ ‘s 2-hour set included both hits and deep cuts from his catalog, specially from “Lenny”, “Circus”, “Baptism” and “Sturt” albums, as well as two new songs “Low” and “ It’s Enough” from his latest album.
Lenny clearly showed having fun on stage, interacting with every band musician, giving them lots of opportunities to showcase their own potential talents.
With the crowd dancing and singing along the entire duration of the set, he reached different generations of fans, thanking them for those good vibrations!! COLMAR! WE LOVE YOU!!!
On the encore “Let Love Rule” long jam version, Kravitz went into the crowd, walking through the venue to greet his fans. Followed by the monster title “Are You Gonna Go My Way”, the audience fell to their knees desperate for more!
The Promoter Claude LEBOURGEOIS chased after Carlos SANTANA for many years but the dates were never available. Two years ago, he missed him by two days!! But for this 71st Colmar festival edition, SANTANA was present one year ahead of the major event of the 50th anniversary of the WOODSTOCK Festival, which will be celebrated in 2019 (1969-2019)!!! Who else than SANTANA could embody this role? We must draw on the WOODSTOCK line-up to detect the only survivors still alive!!! JOE COCKER, who was at the Festival in 2007, is gone. Would they invite JOAN BAEZ, THE WHO, CROSBY,STILLS, NASH & YOUNG or even JOHN FOGERTY (from CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL)? The only real survivors!!! Who of these great artists would surprise us at the festival next year? SANTANA brought the Latin Rock Fusion to Colmar. He hit the nerve of the 10 000 fans, who danced all the show. Their set was powerful and magical at the same time, with a massive percussion section and his beautiful wife as a fabulous drummer!!! CINDY BLACKMAN showed us her professionalism and performed a wonderful solo on the encore “Are You Ready”, a Chambers Brothers cover. The 10 000 fans left the Theater delighted and still dancing on their way back to the parking.
THE “CRAZY WORLD TOUR” passed through Colmar, during that torrid month of August. It’s in ALSACE, that the SCORPIONS really started their international career, with an Alsatian Promoter (Michel & Joëlle KILLOFER) who placed them everywhere in France in the 80s. Ten years ago, “THE FINAL STING TOUR” was announced like a Farewell Tour. But did they feel to old to Rock n’ Roll? No way!! Once on the road, the result was impressive: the machine wasn’t quite ready to rust! A new jump propelled them towards the discovery of countries not yet visited: Vietnam, China, Romania … Exciting ingredient to fuel the longevity craving!! It’s indisputably the Bandthat visited the most countries on the Planet!!!! Next September they will begin a long American tour including the long awaited visit to TAMPA!!! The meat of this Colmar show was a full run-through of the « RETURN TO FOREVER” album, which confirms that they’re still on the wave and no one of us could have the courage to ask them where the next “Bus stop” is!!! On that night, the audience came from the three border countries (France, Germany and Switzerland) like a big cheering family. Some fans loudly declared their passion and were thirsty to hear the Scorpions intergalactic songs!! A giant screen served as a backdrop to revive their brilliant journey for their fans. Again, this show clearly signals that they still have the level of ambition and energy to stay more years on the scene as a confirmed Vintage Hard Rock Band! Rudolph, Matthias, Klaus, Pavel and are still crazy and will be there to “Rock Us Like a Hurricane”!!
BETH DITTO & RAG’N’BONE MAN, 2 iconic voices for the Festival.
BETH DITTO was back to the Colmar Festival for the second time, she performed with her ex-band GOSSIP in 2012. For this evening she opened for RAG’N’BONE MAN. Her smile, her spontaneity and energy once again conquered the audience right from the outset. She was walking and chatting with the audience with ease and a lot of humor, especially when she was trying to speak the best French she could with the few words she knew. She loves France! Which was really cute as she was asking some of the front row fans to help her. She received a bra from a fan and directly worn it on top of her dress, despite the heat! The list is long to describe all the anecdotes along the show. This girl is adorable and what a voice!!! She began with some titles of her solo album FAKE SUGAR (Oh my God, In and Out), followed by “Yr mangled heart”or “Heavy Cross”, Gossip songs to end with the famous “Standing in the way of control”. Before loudly announcing RAG’N’BONE MAN, she left the place on “La vie en rose” a cappella…A last way to show her love for France.
We know her as a confirmed great front woman, BETH DITTO started as an actress in the fresh released movie DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT.
RAG’N’BONE MAN, his real name is Rory Graham, made his entrance on stage greeted by screams and applause from the audience. Becoming famous with his title “Human”, RAG’N’BONE MAN won already many awards. At the 2018 Brit Awards, he was nominated for British Album of the Year and British Male Solo Artist, and won the award for British Single of the Year for “Human”. He was accompanied by a seven piece band, including a brass section and a great female backing vocalist. His bass-baritone voice, his smile and his laughing eyes charmed the public from his opening song “ Reuben’s Train” (The Dillards cover) throughout the show. Mixing soul, blues, hip-hop, electro RAG’N’BONE MAN delivered the popular titles “Skin” and “Human” with a singing along audience. The night finished with both ‘Bitter End’ and ‘Hell Yeah’. A great performance, a great artist and “Human” being! RAG’N’BONE MAN is the patron of AudioActive, a music charity based in Brighton, England, which helps encourage positive social change for young people and give them a chance to be creative via contemporary urban culture.
Many thanks to Stéphanie Juen, Christine, Claude Lebourgeois and all the FAV team for the organization and the great programming.