John Lees Barclay James Harvest
Special Guest Anne Marie Helder (Panic Room,Mostly Autumn)
FRIDAY 15TH NOVEMBER 2013
This event is over 14/ Under 16 with an adult
Barclay James Harvest was formed in Oldham when John Lees and Woolly Wolstenholme teamed up with Les Holroyd and Mel Pritchard. In the summer of 1967 the band turned professional and adopted the name. The band became one of the first signings to the legendary Harvest label. From the very beginning, BJH had experimented with musical ideas, going beyond the traditional guitar, bass and drums format to utilise a Mellotron to simulate the sound of an orchestra. Albums such as Barclay James Harvest, the seminal albums Once Again and Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories and ambitious live performances with their own orchestra gained the group a loyal following in Europe. Signing to Polydor Records in 1974, BJH built on their fan base still further with the albums Everyone Is Everybody Else, Barclay James Harvest Live, a double album which became their first UK chart album, Time Honoured Ghosts in 1975 (recorded in San Francisco by Neil Young producer Elliot Mazer) and Octoberon .
1977’s Gone to Earth heralded the beginning of major success in Germany, where the album eventually reached platinum selling status. In 1978 the second live set, Live Tapes, paved the way for a new studio album, XII, and an extended tour of Britain and Europe.
On August 30th 1980 the band performed a free concert on the steps of the Reichstag, in the heart of the divided city of Berlin to 175,000 people. 1981’s Turn of the Tide album led to yet more touring and 1982’s Berlin - A Concert For The People (recorded at their historic Reichstag concert) went straight to No. 1 in Germany and reached number 15 in the UK.
For the next decade BJH continued to enjoy huge success in Europe, including an open air concert at East Berlin’s Treptower Park on July 14th, 1987 in front of an estimated 170,000 fans, the first time that a western rock band had performed an open-air concert in what was then East Germany; a live recording was released as the album and video Glasnost in 1988.
The band continued to tour and release albums throughout the late 80’s and 90’s.
Increasing disharmony in the ranks of the band led to an announcement in March 1998 that the band would be taking a sabbatical, in effect marking the end of the original Barclay James Harvest, and that the members of the band would be pursuing solo projects. John Lees immediately teamed up with Woolly Wolstenholme for the first time in twenty years to record the album Nexus,
In 2006 the “All is Safely Gathered In” tour (with Craig Fletcher on bass and Kevin Whitehead on drums) was a huge success and resulted in the live album and DVD “Legacy”, recorded at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire and released the following year on Esoteric Recordings. The release of both titles gained further attention in Germany where the band was honored in March 2008 by being bestowed the “Lifetime Achievement” award at the annual Radio Regenbogen Awards (the equivalent of the UK BAFTA awards).
In 2009 Jez Smith joined JLBJH as second keyboard player Unfortunately a date in Portugal in 2010 would prove to be Woolly Wolstenholme's final live appearance. A recurrence of a severe depressive condition meant that he was unable to participate in a series of concerts and on 13th December, he was tragically found dead at his home. Woolly’s passing greatly affected everyone who knew him. After some deliberation at a sold out tribute concert to Woolly at Buxton Opera House in February 2011, John Lees announced that he intended to continue with the group.
The remainder of 2011 saw JLBJH triumph with a series of headline festival appearances in Germany, Switzerland, France (with Status Quo) and the UK, including a headline spot at the High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park, London in July on a bill that included fellow rock legends Jethro Tull and Judas Priest. In August 2012 the band made their first ever visit to Japan, playing a sell out show and performing on the bill at the Open Air Progressive Rock Fes in Tokyo followed by 4 excellent UK shows in October 2012.
The legacy of Barclay James Harvest is set to continue, the band toured Germany in spring 2013 and a new studio album “North” is out on 7th October 2013 on Esoteric Antenna.