Last night, a new music festival 'Moments of Music' got underway at the Kursaal in the Swiss capital, Bern. Invited guests included Swiss politicians and numerous other local known personalities from the worlds of entertainment, culture, gastronomy and sport.
According to the organisers, they anticipate that this new music festival will be an annual first class event with a series of concerts from international music artists fixed in Bern’s cultural calendar from Thursday to Saturday each May. This is their declared aim of the three promoters Beat Ackermann, Lorenz Furrer and Carlo Bommes, owners of event agency Appalooza productions.
Co-promoter Beat Ackermann, Managing Director of the Starproject marketing agency, enthused over the opening evening. “I knew from the beginning that this evening would create a very special atmosphere in Bern. The city just didn’t have an occasion like Moments of Music before this.” Lorenz Furrer, owner of the Bernese communication agency Furrerhugi, is also delighted at the successful start. “My guests were very impressed with the combination of good music and fine dining. Bern’s Kursaal is perfect for enjoying a tremendous evening in good company. I’m more than satisfied.”
Be that as it may, the concept of organising a new first class music event is one thing, nonetheless the event organisers are truly challenging themselves assuming that they want to attract genuine fans of their invited artists, rather than filling an auditorium with the well-heeled affluent crowd due to the fundamental reality of the astronomic ticket prices that ranged from, CHF135 (£106) for the cheapest seats, CHF 250 (£200) for the middle level to the top priced VIP tickets for CHF550 (£430). Consequently it is hardly surprising that the 1,000 seated venue was not sold out over the three days. The majority of attendees appeared to be either corporate clients or invitees of the main sponsors, versus attracting the genuine hardcore fans. (Cont'd below)
Back to the evening. Thursday nights show kicked off at 8pm with the French singer Christophe Maé who has been a big star in the France, Belgium and Switzerland over the past ten years or so. His musical influences range from Bob Marley, Ben Harper, Tracy Chapman, and Jack Johnson . He sang his way through an energetic 70 minute setlist of a rousing set of songs to a less than enthusiastic Swiss German crowd.
Around 10pm Lisa graced the stage with her incredible 9 piece band with Ian Devaney on keyboards & guitar, Snowboy on the percussion, John Thirkell on the horns, Mick Donnelly on the Saxophone, Dave Oliver on Keyboards & Lisa's M.D ,Terry Lewis on guitar, Davide Giovannini on Drums, Davide Mantovani on Bass and Andrea Grant on Backing Vocals. all have been touring with her for many years. The opening set list started off with 'Can't Dance' from her 2014 album Seven, followed by 'Set Your Loving Free' and the 'The Real Thing' which went down a treat with the audience. Halfway into the setlist Lisa treated her fans to two delicious acoustic versions of 'All Woman' accompanied by John Thirkell on backing vocals and the flugelhorn, Snowboy with his Cajon box drum, Dave Oliver on keyboards and Andrea Grant with her smooth backing vocals, followed by 'Time To Make You Mine'.
Together with her band, Lisa pulled off an incredibly energetic and gutsy performance. However, if I am totally honest, it was arduous work coaxing this swanky Swiss German crowd out of their expensive seats. In spite of this, it did not prevent Lisa from jumping down from the stage into the auditorium to dance and sing along with some of the fans who certainly did come to party. She even graciously posed for 'selfies' with some fans beside of the stage while still managing to belt-out 'People Hold On' and 'Someday'.
Without hesitation, an upsurge of fans gathered towards the front of the stage like bees to a honeypot. Nevertheless, despite the crowds belated enthusiasm, in two shakes of a lamb's tail, Lisa started to sing the intro-line to 'All Around The World'..."I don't know where my baby is, but I'll find him, somewhere, somehow..." As the show drew to a close, Lisa and the band disappeared briefly into the side wings of the stage, thankfully reappearing for a final encore of 'Live Together'.
Initially, this impenetrable Swiss crowd seemed tough to get going, nevertheless Lisa wholeheartedly seduced her audience's affection by the end of the show, that they all left the auditorium feeling utterly elated.
Adding to that, I personally relish each and every occasion when I get to see Lisa performing live, no matter where it is, she always gives it her all. Besides that, I'm impatiently looking forward to her forthcoming album that is still in the making together with Ian and their co-producer Snowboy. I am speculating it could be released towards the end of 2017 into early 2018, but you will just have to watch this space!
Review by Bev Nathan