This was the official launch night for Will Wilde’s new album ‘Bring It On Home’. 14th March and Will Wilde Harmonica album launch delight Worthing; on his home turf with local band members playing Southern Pavilion.
The band hit the stage with a few of his earlier numbers in order to ‘warm up’, but from the way they rocked from the outset, there was no warm-up required. Danny Giles on guitar, Victoria Smith, bass and Alan Taylor on drums were in fine form and well prepared to give Will the backing that ‘Bring it On Home’ deserves.
The album will have already been reviewed, but to summarise, it is a selection of songs from the world of British and Irish rock history that influenced Will during his formative years, arranged to make the most of his style of harp playing.
There are some tracks on the album that bring back floods of memories for me as a former metal and rock fan and the live performance did not disappoint as Will, is, without a shadow of doubt, THE BEST rock harp player I have ever heard.
There were a number of highlight numbers for me, ’Parisienne Walkways’ being the first. I have heard Will play this several times and, I will be totally honest and say, that I personally don’t think it was his best performance of it, but for anyone hearing it for the first time they would still have been blown away by his skill. The ‘guitar solo’ parts are complex and played so well (using two harps at the same time) that many a guitarist would consider hanging up their plectrums and retiring. This ended the first set and during the interval, the audience audibly buzzed with anticipation.
The second set was an eye-opener for me and one that I will remember for many a year.
Opening with the Deep Purple classic ‘Lazy’ which has blistering keyboard solo’s played by one of the former masters of the Hammond, Jon Lord. There are very few Keyboard players who would attempt to emulate the great man, but to do it with just a harp sounds like madness. It is, instead, a stroke of genius. Someone hearing it for the first time might never have known that it wasn’t written for the harp. How one mouth organ can replace 8 fingers and 2 thumbs beggars belief but Will does it and makes it look easy. His vocals are strong, the song pitched to suit him, rather than any attempt to sound like Ian Gillan. My all-time favourite rock band covered perfectly. I can only say thank you Will.
‘Love That Burns’ gave Will the chance to show off his vocal talents and let Danny bring his guitar playing to the fore with some lovely deep tonal slow licks, just as Greenie would have liked it, before Will took over with a really quiet harp solo which when combined with an echo effect, sounded just sublime.
We were then treated to ‘Bonnie To My Clyde’ an even newer original, destined for Will’s next album. I will say no more than this. If this one track is anything to go by then that album will be epic and well worth waiting for.
Who’d have thought we would ever hear Black Sabbath at a ‘blues’ gig? I’m not a big fan of labels/genres so was more than happy to hear them give us some heavy rocking from a band I used to play over and over back in the day. ‘The Wizard’ is not an obvious choice for a Sabbath song, but it was a great choice. The whole band did it proud and the audience loved it as they had loved everything else so far.
A couple more older originals followed including ’38’ which featured an extremely good bass solo from Victoria, who, from the look on her face, was enjoying every minute of being on stage.
This was the final number and ended to huge applause and a standing ovation before they came back on to give us Rory Gallagher’s ‘Bad Penny’.
A suitable and fast-paced ending to a fabulous night.
I wish Will and the band the best for the rest of the tour and huge success for the album which is not only a well thought out concept but one that has been superbly executed.