"FIRST PART 13-14 July 2012
More stars of high calibre appeared on stage in mid July in the newer and rebuilt amphitheatre. The audience experienced a trip back in time to the times of the greatest stars in the history of rock.
The 6th Rock Legends Festival began on 13 July in near total darkness with the performance of Ray Manzarek and Robby Krieger, the keyboards player and guitarist from the legendary American band The Doors. Together with three much younger musicians: a bass player, drummer and singer, Manzarek and Krieger did a fantastic job. They played the songs which now belong the the rock classics: Five To One, Alabama Song/Whisky Bar, Break On Through (To The Other Side), People Are Strange, LA Woman, Crawling Kingsnake and Light My Fire for the encore. In those conditions, with pouring rain, Riders On The Storm, was even more moving. They also sang the epic and well-played When The Music’s Over. Jim Morrison’s successor - David Brock (not the one from Hawkwind), sang very well and with his posture, moves and face, but mostly voice, he reminded of the legendary frontman. However, in the current version of The Doors it is not the singer but the keyboard player, Ray Manzarek, who is the most important. Standing or sitting at the keyboard he gestured what and when to play, who starts their solo and when the song is to finish. His partner - Robbie Krieger - had a couple of great solos on the electric guitar whereas he played Spanish Caravan on the classical Spanish guitar flamenco style. It was a great one and a half hour performance. The memories came back and lit a bright flame not only in my heart. And the flame will contine to burn whenever I listen to the music by The Doors.
After coming back home I also eagerly reached for the records of the artists from 14 July, the same day Manzarek and Krieger performed. The concerts began with a group which already performed in Dolina Charlotty a couple of years before and its former leader, Alvin Lee, performed here only last year. Everybody who came to his show in August 2011, remember how great it was. In 2012 his three colleagues from Ten Years After that is Rick Lee (drummer, resemblance of surnames with Alvin is coincidental), Chic Churchill (keyboard) and Leo Lyons (bass player) accompanied by a much younger singing guitarist, Joe Gooch for 9 years, played nearly the same but totally different, with youthful energy, finesse, perfection and the understanding of the songs developed throughout all those years. They joyfully played and sang (Gooch) their biggest hits, the most important and known songs from Hear Me Calling through Love Like A Man up to I’m Going Home intertwined with classical rock&roll motives. The audience, as the day before during the performance of The Doors, sang together with the artist. They danced and had great fun and didn’t want them to leave even though the weather was similar to that at Woodstock in 1969.
The second band to appear on stage was Savoy Brown. It is a band which have made numerous contributions to blues-rock (although it also went through a hardrock phase). Some would compare them to the famous Bluesbreakers and its leader Kim Simmonds to John Mayall. Savoy Brown visited Poland for the second time (I saw him in 1997 at the Rawa Blues festival). As before he played a couple of older songs (Train To Nowhere, Hellbound Train, Mr. Downchild, Keep On Rollin, I’m Tired, Kings Of Boogie, A Man Alone, Let It Ride) and some newer pieces from his recent studio record Voodoo Moon.
The first part of the 6th Rock Legends Festival finished with the performance of Cactus who visited Poland and this venue for the first time. They probably visited Dolina Charlotty because Carmine Aplice, the leader and Pete Bremy the drummer, liked it so much when they performed in the amphitheatre (though much larger now) as members of the legendary American band Vanilla Fudge. Then they played brilliantly and they themselves remembered the great reaction of the audience. So they didn't need much convincing to come to Dolina once again. The second time they also played hard and energetic music. They gracefully reminded of Vanille Fudge. They played their own songs and classics in slightly slowlier and hypnotic versions (starting with rock&roll Long Tall Sally and blues You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl) made a huge impression on the audience. If it only were a bit warmer, the concert of Cactus could have lasted until morning. Unfortunately, it lasted until 1 am.
10-12 August 2012
Among the foreign stars that were to entertain the audience and were known from previous performances was Thin Lizzy and Uriah Heep. However, the many fans of rock in Dolina Charlotty did not expect that Paul Rodgers who performed in Poland for the first time, the singer and song writer whose carrier is full of significant successes (e.g. a prize for the 2 million radio airings of All Right Now, the great hit of Free with whom Rodger’s successes began) would turn out to be the biggest star, a legend in fact. And this is what really happened, however, there was a certain feeling of insufficiency as it usually is after good concerts. Before Rodgers, the main star of the festival of that year’s August part in Dolina Charlotty, there were many memorable and enthusiastically greeted bands Thin Lizzy (10 August) and Uriah Heep (11 August), and also Polish bands: Kruk and Acid Drinkers (on Friday 10 August), Złe Psy and Budka Suflera (on Saturday 11 August) and Chemia and Perfect (on Sunday 12 August).
Kruk performed in Dolina Charlotty already for the third time. In 2010 the band was one of the winners of the young debut competition Sen o Dolinie in which the prize was a performance before Eric Burdon and Arthur Brown. The following years Kruk played as a fully-fledged performer at the event before Deep Purple. Many fans of rock really liked the performance by Kruk which is a rising star of the Polish classic rock. Acid Drinkers’ funny and playful renditions of Pink Floyd’s songs (Another Brick In The Wall) or Joe Dassin were well received even by an audience who prefers softer sounds. The first day of the festival finished with the performance by Thin Lizzy. The Irish musicians sang almost all the hits from the time of their greatness. We could hear the cheerful Boys are Back in Town and slightly harder Emerald, and of course hits such as Whiskey in the Jar.
On the second day, there was a great performance of Andrzej Nowak (TSA) and Paweł Mąciwoda’s (Scorpions) band Złe Psy, aided by three younger and less known colleagues. They sang songs from their great debut album. Andrzej was the singer. From time to time he also showed off with his spectacular and energetic guitar solo and a warmly received walk among the audience of the amphitheatre. Also, Budka Suflera sounded amazingly that day. They sang hits from their first two albums Cień wielkiej góry and Przechodniem byłem miedzy wami. Budka Suflera has occupied an acknowledged position on the Polish music scene thanks to the pop hits of the recent years. The so far greatest audience gathered during the August part listened to Bal wszystkich świętych or Takie tango but they also heard Sen o dolinie, Jest gdzieś taki dom, Noc nad Norwidem and the suite Szalony koń thanks to which they learned that the Lublin based band with such a repertoire deserves to perform at the Rock Legends Festival.
The last concert of the day was given by Uriah Heep who apart from songs from the newest album Into The Wild also sang their great hits July Morning, Gypsy and Easy Livin for the encore and their memorable Lady in Black sung together with the audience. The Sunday audience also helped Grzegorz Markowski who together with his band san the great Polish rock hits. So they sang Autobiografia, Lokomotywa z ogłoszenia, Niewiele ci mogę dać, Nie płacz Ewka, Chcemy być sobą, Pepe wróć and Niepokonanych, enriched with the intense and spectacular play by Darek Kozakiewicz, Jacek Krzaklewski, Piotr Szkudelski and Piotr Urbanek. Before Perfect took the stage, a young Polish band Chemia prepared the ground for them. That year’s festival finished with the performance of Paul Rodgers, a great voice and a very friendly person whose meeting with the journalists as well as the performance were great and unforgettable events. Let those who couldn’t come and see the festival regret and find time for the next edition next year."