Last night at the Royal Albert Hall there was great joy in celebrating the life and musical times of the great Jon Lord, most famous for his time as keyboard player with Deep Purple. I was very lucky to have worked with Jon, who wrote the Durham Concerto with me as one of the soloists some years ago – we played a movement of it last night. His warmth and nobility of character were something very unusual, and I was also very impressed by his knowledge of classical music and serious harmonic awareness in his music. He was a master in many ways.
But last night was also special for me on a personal note as I saw so many boyhood idols I’d seen perform in the 70s – Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Rick Wakeman, Roger Glover, Bruce Dickinson – and it took me back to my teenage days where I spent my terms going to every rock concert that came to Sheffield, and all the holidays playing with the National Youth Orchestra. Now I look back it seems pretty obvious that an adolescence like that would make a career like I have. And at the end of the evening Mark King (Level 42) came up to me and raved about my playing! I know it’s very immodest of me to write that here, but I was totally tickled pink.
Dear Jon, you enriched an awful lot of lives – none more than your dear family and friends, but also your legions of fans worldwide.