Looking at the music of Dutch rock band Focus, started in the late sixties by Thijs Van Leer (b /31/03/48) with Jan Akkerman (b 24/12/46). Van Leer still performs and records under the name today (official site here). Akkerman's site here.




Focus Live 08

By 1975 things in the Focus camp were beginning to unravel but they continued to play together. The final Akkerman era album, Mother Focus, was recorded in Belgium early in the year with David Kemper as drummer. In late June the band appeared at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. There seems to have been other activity in Scandinavia that year, including a disastrous stadium concert in Oslo, but none of it is available in recorded form.
At some point Pierre Van Der Linden rejoined the band for their return visit to Australia and Japan in June. Again the Japanese were ready with recording devices and shows in Osaka and Tokyo have been preserved. The one in Osaka on Thursday June 19 features part of AQQA/Focus 2 (presumably they began with Focus 3 or an improvisation, as in Tokyo), then comes Sylvia and House of the King and a new piece that never made it to a studio recording (some detect lines from Crackers and Can't Believe My Eyes in it). It was also played in the Budokan Hall, Tokyo on July 2. In Osaka we then have the end of Hamburger Concerto, a flute solo and most of a version of Eruption. The Budokan Hall concert begins with an improvisation that leads into AQQA/Focus 2. We then have the untitled track, the very end of Hamburger Concerto, House of the King and Sylvia. Both concerts close with Hocus Pocus, an improvisation (partly lost on the Osaka version) with Eurydice from Eruption and Hocus Pocus (reprise). Recordings also exist from Tokyo in 1975 of a 24 minute Eruption and a 10 minute Hocus Pocus. The lack of Mother Focus material seems strange but was may be due to working with Van Der Linden.
That year three concerts were performed in Spain (February 4-7) and at least two in Denmark.


Anonymous said...

The Danish TV spot with Colin Allen was from 1974, not '75. The band had not yet worked out "No Hang Ups" and it is in very rough form here. They did much better with it a bit later in '74 in the UK when they played it on "In Concert" following "Hocus Pocus." I believe that the band was desperate for a top 40 hit to follow up "Sylvia". "P.'s March" had been shelved (for 3 years), and "Harem Scarem", released in January, 1974, peaked at number 17, then rapidly slid off the charts. Paul Stoppelman, a friend of the band, wrote the basic tune of "No Hang Ups", but Focus rearranged it a bit. However, it was never released as a single until the "Mother Focus" album came out in '75. "My Sweetheart" was also a single. Neither of these did well on the charts, though, and things didn't look good for the band's commercial future. When Pierre van der Linden quit Trace in 1975, Focus leaped at the chance to have their old drummer back, and dismissed Colin Allen. However, Pierre only did a few live dates, and recorded "Glider" (another unused single), then left the band again until the mid-1990s.

Gary Brady said...

Thanks for this. I'll try and reword my pieces.