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Pavol Hammel - The Best of Live April 8th, 2014 (concert review) 2019-06-26

He appeared in Neratovice yesterday out of nowhere. In a town where the greatest Czech rock legends have 30 visitors in average. Yesterday it was more than 60. Pavol was a little upset by the numbers, but if he saw the 20 visitors at the Abraxas concert, he might take it as a success. I did not hesitate whether to go or not; legends like this do not come to our town too often. But I was a little afraid if there would be too much to listen to. I heard some amateur recordings from previous Hammel's concerts and it appeared that his voice quality is more and more deteriorating. But at least I expected great instrumental performance. I was surprized twice. First, Hammel sang with more confidence than ever. Second, Juraj Burian's guitar performance was something that cannot be describer, is simply must be heard.
The concert subtitle was Best of Live, so the greatest hits could be expected. Which only became true in part. A lot of songs were taken from his latest album Night Gallery (2011), which certainly is not bad, but simply not the best.
The most distinguished of the greatest hits was ironically Smutna ranna elektricka, played by Hammel and Burian alone with just two spanish guitars and a vocal. Even though it was the hardest song of the evening, a guitar storm rarely heard. Also Medulienka soudned perfect, with flamenco-like guitar creations for which even the late Paco de Lucia would not be ashamed of. And Sest starcov (Six Old Men), again bursting with unbeliavable energy, including Hammel's expressive voice and for me, a surprising comment (the song from 1968 was supposed to remind of the armies of 6 Warsaw Treaty member states, coming to "rescue" former Czechoslovakia).
Though I missed some of the greatest hits (Zvonte zvonky or Lalia polna), the selection of songs was not the most important thing in the end. It was clear that today's Hammel's greatest advantage is a choice of excellent musicians, who in this case brought a perfect intimate chanson-jazz-rock atmosphere (in the lineup Vítek Pospíšil keyboards - Petr Tichý double bass - Michal Pajdiak pecussion - Juraj Burian solo guitar - Pavol Hammel rhythm guitar).
A beautiful evening indeed.

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Last update 2019-06-26