Bremen, 2 January, 2010. The new year kicked off to an excellent start with a show featuring wizards, knights, rock-stars, acrobats, fireworks, a symphony orchestra and Celtic dancers. Excalibur, The Celtic Rock Opera had the premiere of its touring production in front of 6,000 spectators in the Bremen-Arena (previously the venue of three German Eurovision finals from 1998-2000).
The main role of King Arthur was played by Eurovision winner Johnny Logan. He headed a star-studded cast of rock legends which included Alan Parsons, John Helliwell from “Supertramp”, Martin Barre von “Jethro Tull”, and Les Holroyd of “Barclay James Harvest”. They were joined by big names from the Celtic music scene such as Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie and Gerry Conwax of “Fairport Convention”, Jacqui McShee of “Pentangle” and the medieval music group “Corvus Corax”. All in all, over a hundred musicians and dancers were involved in bringing the legend of King Arthur’s mystical sword to the stage. The award-winning German actor, Michael Mendl, plays Merlin and guides the audience through the proceedings as the storyteller.
Speaking to Ivor Lyttle before the show, Johnny Logan said, “It is a great honour for me to work with this cast, many of them who have been heroes of mine since my youth. It is also a big challenge, as apart from a couple of big ballads, my numbers are explosive rockers – not something I’m known for”. By the end of the show that had changed, and in Bremen at least, the word is that “Logan rocks!”.
Johnny also spoke of his newly recorded album, due out this spring. As well as clutch of new songs, he will also mark the 30th anniversary of first his Eurovision victory on the album with re-workings of his 3 Eurovision triumphs (What's another year, Hold me now and Why me). He promised that these new recordings will hold a few surprises in style and arrangements for his fans.There were standing ovations at the end of the show, but perhaps the greatest compliment for Johnny Logan’s performance came from the French composer of Excalibur, Alan Simon. He said, “Now that I have heard Johnny sing the role, I just can’t imagine anyone else ever doing it justice”. The Excalibur tour continues with 12 more dates in Germany and Switzerland until the end of January. Details – with trailer – can be found here.
Special thanks to Ivor Lyttle