Thursday 20 September 2012

The Sunflower Jam 2012 Royal Albert Hall Sunday 16th September

The Sunflower Jam 2012 - An Incredible Night!
I asked myself  '' How will I find the words to describe what I witnessed? ''
 From start to finish The Sunflower Jam SupaJam 2012 that took place at the beautiful Royal Albert Hall on Sunday September 16 was utterly mesmerising , it attacked all my senses and it left me dazed! It was just such a fantastic adrenaline-filled night, an array of amazing talent from various musical genres coming together determined to ROCK for a great cause. They included tenor Alfie Boe, actress/singer Kerry Ellis, Level 42's Mark King, Deep Purple's Ian Paice, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin 's John Paul Jones, Queen's Brian May and Iron Maiden's Bruce DickinsonIt kicked off with some rather scantily clad ladies from dance group Miss Kitty dancing, feathers and all to Led Zep's Whole Lotta Love . (I am sure the men fully appreciated this but may I cheekily suggest also including some long haired male dancers for the ladies next time to even it up a bit! )

This was followed by a band called The Temperance Movement . I hadn't heard them before but thought they were excellent. Certainly would like to hear more.

In a recent interview Ian Paice had told me how fantastic the house band would be and he was spot on. They were simply stunning and included the talents of ex Scorpion Uli Jon Roth, ex Whitesnake Micky Moody & Murray Gould on guitars . Paul Wix Wickins & Brian Auger (keys) Steve Balsamo , Margo Buchanan & Sandi Thom (vocals) along with Nick Fyffe ( bass) and Jerry Brown (drums)

Brian Auger, John Paul Jones, Micky Moody

Margo Buchannan

Brian Auger and Sandi Thom were a joy to watch , I especially loved ‘Wheels On Fire’ and
'November Rain' Beautiful!

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Alfie Boe, don’t misunderstand me, he has a stunning voice that I appreciate & enjoy, but I was very pleasantly surprised and impressed hearing him get his rock socks on singing Led Zep's Rock And Roll
and Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is

Seeing Kerry Ellis & Brian May deliver a stunning version of Rainbow’s Since You’ve Been Gone was just well..frankly awesome.!

Kerry Ellis and Brian May
There probably wasn't a dry eye in house during the very moving tribute to Jon Lord, which was in the form of a letter to Jon penned and read by vocalist Steve Balsamo (who had worked with Jon in recent years ) Steve and violinist Anna Phoebe then performed Pictured Within (which was written by Jon ) This was accompanied by stills and footage of Jon. It was hauntingly beautiful. A well deserved standing ovation for a gentleman who will be missed by so many and gave so much to music

I really must give special mention to the Big C Choir who got a well deserved standing ovation for ‘ Something Inside So Strong / It's My Life‘ -they sung their hearts out and had an obviously fantastic time doing so. So what that it wasn’t pitch perfect, I’m mentioning this because unlike the others who were appearing at the Jam the Big C Choir are not ‘pros’, many of them had never sung in public before, but they do have a common link , they are people who are in, or have undergone, treatment for cancer. A very brave bunch in every way possible, and they brought tears to many eyes, including mine. I take my hat off to them.
Level 42's Mark King and Uli Jon Roth

Naturally I expected Bruce Dickinson, Alice Cooper and Brian May to rock loud n proud – and they did just that! Bruce brought his energetic touch to Thin Lizzy 's Emerald & The Who 's Behind Blue Eyes

Bruce Dickinson
It was actually my first time seeing any of them live on stage and what a treat it was for me to finally witness Alice's 'Elected ' and 'School's Out' live

Brian May and Alice Cooper
Another spectacular jamming moment takes place on stage to the delight of the audience with Ian Paice , Brian May, Brain Auger John Paul Jones and Bruce Dickinson breaking into a fantastic classic - Deep Purple's Black Night.

All too soon the night was coming to an end, but not before an amazing finale with everyone coming back together onstage for Smoke On The Water

All in all , a fantastic night and for a great cause , with proceeds going towards holistic & complementary care for people with cancer and that cause is really the most important part of the night which I think some of the people leaving the Albert Hall later forgot, I overheard a few complaints of ‘not enough music’ amongst the ‘wow brilliants’

I’d taken my sister along for the night as a bit of a ‘reunion’ weekend (we are usually thousands of miles apart ) and she certainly enjoyed herself! We had a box to ourselves and danced our socks off at times, we joked that the only thing missing in our box was the adorably grumpy old men from The Muppet Show but I think even they would have enjoyed the night!

(c) Marilyn Michaels 2012

Marilyn Michaels at The Sunflower Jam 2012


  1. my daughter aged 13 was in the Big C = Choir of Hope... with thanks to all involved, we had a spectacular weekend. can only agree with all the superlatives you have used, to me many seem inadequate for the Sunflower Jam 2012... it was an experience that can never be repeated or surpassed and will remain with me always..