Over the past 30 years, rock legend Joe Lynn Turner has been famed for working with the likes of Rainbow and Deep Purple, and on Saturday night he paid a visit to Belfast’s hard rock hotspot Voodoo for an intimate evening of music and discussion.
The night was kicked off with support from Cookstown punk rocker Jarlath Cowan, who played a mixture of covers by the likes of The Pogues and Stiff Little Fingers as well as some originals. I was really impressed by his cover of Elvis classic Don’t Be Cruel, which had everyone dancing and singing along, as well as the melodic My Name is Hercules and his final song Buckfast, which he tells me usually gets a brilliant reaction when he plays it in his native Cookstown (I’m from Tyrone and this doesn’t surprise me!). For someone who’s used to playing alongside his band, Jarlath did a fantastic job of warming up the crowd with the help of only his guitar.
Before Joe took to the stage we were asked to write some questions down for him to answer throughout the night, which was a lovely touch to an already intimate gig and something which I think his fans really appreciated. You could tell that most of the people there were lifelong supporters and there was a real excitement amongst the crowd which was difficult not to get wrapped up in as we waited for him to come on. He started the gig off with Rainbow classic Stone Cold, which went down an absolute treat with the crowd. I was surprised at the intimacy of the gig, as it was just Joe on stage with a guitarist, and his vocals were really laid bare. Despite telling us that he was suffering from a cold, his voice was still pretty much on point; impressive when you consider the fact that the guy’s 63 years old.
Next up he sang a few classics such as Street of Dreams and King of Dreams which had everyone singing along. He cited Van Morrison is one of his inspirations, telling us that he’s a massive fan, and gave us a charming rendition of Moondance. The highlight of the evening for me came with Deep Purple classics Hush, and of course Smoke on the Water; upbeat crowd pleasers that everyone relished in chanting along to.
He finished the night off with ZZ Top anthem Tush, which sounded fantastic even with the lack of a big, live band, much to the crowds delight.
Although, admittedly I didn’t exactly fit in to the crowd of 80’s hard rockers at Voodoo, I found myself having a brilliant night and really got wrapped up in the atmosphere of the evening. Joe seems like a lovely, genuine guy and had a brilliant rapport with the crowd, although there were a few complaints from fans about the briefness of the gig (Joe was only on stage for an hour and fifteen minutes), and the fact that he didn’t play his classic hit I Surrender. He did, however, have a chat with some of his fans and sign quite a few tickets and albums, and they told me he was very friendly and welcoming. After thirty years in the business, Joe Lynn Turner can still provide fans with an exceptional performance and shows us that age is only a number. Meghan Gilleece, GiggingNI.com