On this cold, crisp, and even Saturday night, a great musical event took place in a modest little church, on top of a scenic hill overlooking the Delaware River. Upper Black Eddy is approximately 20 miles up-river from Philadelphia, PA.
Annie Haslam and friends held a concert for a crowd of 200 plus, who were thoroughly entertained with a vegeterian dinner, a few stories, and music which featured several Christmas carols.
The show began at 8:45pm with a greeting by Pastor Rodger Dennis (a man of character acording to Annie!), who brought on Annie. She then introduced the opening act, solo pianist Raphael Rudd. Raphael, who once played alongside Annie in Renaissance, wasted no time livening up the audience with spirited renditions of songs from his earlier album, Skydancer, his current album, The Awakening, and some unreleased tracks. Raphael has a very commanding presence on the piano, and he attributes this style to the strong influence of Renaissance.
Annie and her band took the stage (altar!) at 9:20 pm and began with an old favorite, "Carpet of the Sun." The next 2 songs, "Seashell Eyes" and "Summon The Angels," show Annie's continuing vocal strength, coupled with a feminine warmth, that only she can deliver.
The band next played a beautiful segment from Renaissance's Scheherazade album called, "The Young Prince and Princess," with beautiful playing from pianist, Rave Tesar.
Joe Goldberger, the drummer from this fine ensemble next enthralled the house (church!) with an intriguing version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" sung backwards! (amazing, how does he do it?!)
Next featured was a new, pastoral piece entitled "Sometimes" which is to be released soon on a colaboration between Annie and Yes guitarist Steve Howe when a record deal is secured.
Other highlights included a new song called "Sleepless Mother," which features great interplay between Rave Tesar, and keyboardist/guitarist David Biglin.
Finally, Raphael Rudd returned on harp, and the whole church joined in several Christmas songs, including "Silent Night," "Hark The Herald Angels," "Three Kings," "O' Holy Night" and others!
This for me, was an extrodinary end for a great year in progressive music!
Of special note for Renaissance fans, Annie said that the new release, Renaissance Live In London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be released in two parts, with the first scheduled for release in February, 1997.
Raphael Rudd's latest album, The Awakening - Chronicles, is a two CD set featuring Pete Townshend, Phil Collins, and Annie Haslam (on three tracks), and is on the Wedge Music label. Ed note: the links section of Northern Lights includes a link to their web site that has details of how you can obtain this album from them directly.]
Here is a set list from Annie's concert:
Annie would like to thank:
Annie's band are:
Thanks Annie! Merry Christmas Northern Lights!