Erja Lyytinen The Bullingdon Oxford 09-11-23
On a wet Thursday night in Oxford we were warmed up by the Matt Edwards Band with a set of blues originals with a new album due in early 2024 one to keep an eye out for.
Erja Lyytinen returns to the UK for the first time in 4 and a half years and from the huge grin she wore all evening is very pleased to be back.
Small in stature and huge in talent the Queen Of Slide guitar showcased her stunning ability over the course of 85 minutes showcasing her 20 year recording career with the aid of her band Iiro Laitinen on drums and on bass Heikki Saarenkunnas. Apologies if I have that wrong but will add they both were the rock of solidity for Erja to weave her magic over.
Erja has just released her fourth live album Diamonds On The Road and is well worth picking up seeing the fantastic live versions we witnessed tonight.
2022 saw the release of her last studio album Waiting For The Daylight and 5 of those numbers were played and all show that Erja has a superb vocal instrument too.
Diamonds On The Road opened the show with it's heavy guitar riff and great chorus before Erja's first bottleneck slide solo and we were open mouthed at her virtuosity.
Rocking Chair from the Stolen Hearts album followed with it's wah wah infused solo and huge credit to the sound man who enveloped the crowd and let all band members be heard clearly.
Bad Seed from the new album and it's raw guitar riff were up next and noticeable that for 4 songs Erja played no slide and her dextrous picking and held notes show how her playing has developed and seeing it so close was a joy.
Black Ocean again from Stolen Hearts is a favourite of mine and played superbly and again no slide but a lengthy guitar solo with Erja 's fingers dancing across her fretboard and her band showcasing simplicity and timing that you could set a Swiss watch too.
Last Girl and Waiting For The Daylight show off Erja's vocal capabilities and her in between song patter sees her first naming fans and again her pleasure at being back in the UK.
Unrecorded song Lullaby and “Erja’s Contribution to Jazz,” from ‘The Sky Is Crying’ from 2014 had slide fans in awe.
Lengthy slide passages infuse You Talk Dirty ,Skinny Girl and set closer Wedding Day. Erja and her band take it down to a whisper and at one point her guitar was mere inches from me as she then said hello are you ok ? Of course we all replied.
Her cover of Jimi Hendrix's Crosstown Traffic was the first encore and Erja puts her mark on a classic with slide guitar and cazoo !!
Finishing the show with another from Waiting For The Daylight was the beautiful ballad The End Of The Music left us all wanting more.
With 3 show left on this run and a return to the UK in April 2024 get yourself along you won't be disappointed.
Photo Credit and used with thanks : © Rapha El
Photo Credit and used with thanks: © Rapha El