GONG - Loppen, Christiania, Denmark 11/22/01

From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)

I was really looking forward to this show and we had been listening to GONG a lot the past weeks. I had just received a copy of the GONG show from Bergen the week before (thanks to Ketil!) and they sounded great. I did not expect them to be as good as when I saw them twice back in 1996 with Didier, Pip Pyle and Steffi Sharpstrings. This was the first time that GONG had ever played in Denmark (or at least Gilli could not ever remember being here). There was a good crowd of about 140 people and what a show did we get. Only Thomas and Tommy from Gas Giant came. Seems that Stefan and Jesper miss some of the best shows (missed the Ozrics!). Anyway, the band started right at 10:00 and opened with Radio Gnome Invisible and sounded totally spaced. Zorch sat behind his two synths (he also had a Virus workstation) and just layered in the space sounds and melodies, just like Tim did back in the old days. They had no synth player on the 1996 tour. This was great. It was not a major part of the sound, just underneath, sort of like what I am doing with Gas Giant. Nearly the whole set was 1970-1973 material with two songs from the last studio CD. The band were having such a great time as well. Daevid was changing his costumes, Gilli was coming on and off in new hats, etc... and Mike Howlett was just keeping the bottom end totally solid. The guy is not extra fancy but amazingly solid, like Zia in the Ozrics. The band went through a lot of the classics like Zero the Hero and the Witches Spell (amazing sax soloing from Theo Travis, who totally did not visually fit in with the band at all), I am your Pussy, Isle of Everywhere, You Can't Kill Me, and more. The new songs like Wise Man In Your Heart and Magdalene were very nice breaks from the heavier spaced numbers and they did go out into space with lots of really long jams and I was surprised at how well Daevid plays lead guitar. The set from Flute Salad, Oily Way, Tropical Fish and finally Inner Temple-Outer Temple was incredible. The band came out for an encore of about 20 minutes more of music with You Stoned Me (don't recall ever hearing this one live) and Selene. Very nice 2 hour and 10 minute set. Amazing stuff from a classic band. Those who missed this show, missed out on one of the most unique musical experiences to come to Denmark in 2001. No doubt!

Reviewed by Scott Heller

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