So where do you want to be when the world ends? I couldn’t help but think that if the last sound I heard was Dana Fuchs singing ‘Moment Away’ before it was ,’whammo bammo and lights out’ forever – well I’d be half way to heaven already anyway. Dana was in town on Monday and behind the unassuming restaurant doors of Bonn’s Harmonie the Church of Love, Rock, n Roll’ was open for business. Time to pray…
It’s quarter past 8pm and quarter past the advertised starting time. The three rows who were here at 7pm have swelled to an estimated four hundred people and we are all waiting. I’ve already slipped in a plea to guitarist Jon Diamond as he was unpacking CD’s for my favourite song – “Shout it out!” was all he would recommend. No promises. We’ll get what Dana wants to play seems the deal, and since Dana makes everything special I have no qualms about that. Except I love that song…
The band walks onstage to a roar of approval that they richly deserve. Bassman Walter Latupeirissa is no stranger from the Snowy White Band and keyboarder Bob Fridzema has been busy with King King of late so you know it’s quality backing is assured, and so it proves to be. They kick off with ‘Almost Home’ but really KICK off on the title track from the new CD ‘Bliss Avenue’. There’s a clockwork accuracy to the stop/start tempo of this one that I love, and the beat hammers out of Piero Perelli “The best live drummer I’ve worked with so far” says Dana and on this evidence who am I to disagree.
Pretty well the whole of ‘Bliss Avenue’ gets a workout which means there are a few casualties: no room for ‘Songbird’ for example, or ‘Rather Go Blind’ and even ‘Helter Skelter’ can’t find a spot. Given that the new disc is Dana’s best yet though I can live with the compromise. In place of the song to Dana’s sister there is ‘So Hard To Move’ to her brother, and Dana puts her private heart on the public line so beautifully. There is a lesson to be learned from Don’s untimely death, and that is we only have ‘now’ as a given so we should live in it, celebrate it, and stop moaning like the mixed up soul on ‘Handful too many’ or the crazy referred to on ‘Rodents in the Attic’ – which gives Jon Diamond a chance to shine if you’ll pardon the pun. Personally Jon is one of my favourite guitarists. Especially when he gets into chunky chord solos with his Telecaster.
Time, that perennial jetplane, has flown by quickly and the band is offstage. We’re all shouting for more of course and there’s Mr Diamond, cloth cap firmly pinned to the perspiring top of his head stepping back into his corner stage right. The lights are still off but someone starts the mirrorball above the stage slowly rotating. Jon coaxes notes out of his Tele that tell me something very special is about to happen and indeed it is. Dana is back. She tells the story I’ve heard a few times now – of a woman who on a bright Summer morning in New York kissed her husband goodbye “Just for today, not for forever” and never saw him again. ‘Moment Away’, Probably the best song Dana has written and maybe the best one she ever will. “Live just in the moment” Dana said earlier, as does the widow in her song, and this is a moment I want never to end. Is music a form of magic? Very occasionally it is more than the sum of its notes and this is one such occasion.
“We’re paying homage to a great band every evening on this tour” announces Dana when the lights come back on. Tonight it’s the turn of the Stones and a blistering ‘Gimme Shelter’ that reminds me Dana really can Rock with the very best of them. Hers is a voice that is, dare I say it, too big for the Harmonie. It swamps the microphones and bounces frantically off the walls as Perelli puts pedal to metal on drums and Jon Diamonds cap almost metamorphoses into ‘Keefs’ bandana. ‘Keep On Walking’ brings the set to a frantic finish and that’s it.
The end of a blinding concert by a super band with one of the best female singers of this or indeed any other generation. Dana’s handing out autographs and kisses to a long line of male fans and she finds words for every one of them – the couple who’ve been to seven shows in a row get a photo taken by Jon and I can’t resist a hug either. There’s something energizing about just being in the presence of Dana Fuchs. I thank her for playing my favourite song and she thanks me for being a fan. I Head for home knowing I’ve seen one of the best vocalists on the planet and, even better, the World hasn’t ended, so there’s maybe a concert next year to look forward to as well. If you have a copy of the new CD and something to play it on then truly – great music is only a moment away.
finally, a video from the show courtesy of Gudi Bee: