Review of concert in Eisenach

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Wenige Schnörkel, viele Emotionen _ Thüringer Allgemeine

Few flourishes, many emotions

The English musician Paul Millns has – once again – given a great concert in Eisenach. He is now 72 years, but powerful and soulful as ever.

Singer and pianist Paul Millns in the Nikolaikirche. He plays with everything he has, his whole body seems to vibrate.

Eisenach. Thick hair, bony hands, lean figure – Paul Millns has visibly aged at the age of 72, and one might doubt whether he, as a soloist, can captivate audiences for more than two hours. He can – as soon as he sits on the grand piano in the fully occupied Eisenach Nikolaikirche, all are spellbound, and they remain so during the entire concert.

From the very first notes he fascinates the more than 200 visitors on Friday evening with a powerful groove, energetic charisma and a distinctive voice – a sonority with which unbelievably he alone fills the church. Full of emotion, he plays and sings, his body seems to vibrate, his whole being the music and lyrics. He transmits this power into his sounds – the cliché “he hits the keys” becomes completely true here.

Saving the world: tender and ruthless

It seems he cannot help but play and sing – as if he wants to save the world with it, as if it were his highest purpose in life.

This fervor is contagious, to the catchy melodies, the poetic texts. And of course the sonorous voice, sometimes tender, sometimes roaring. The enthusiasm is to be seen in the audience – feet are bobbing, looks are ecstatic, and intense applause after each song.

There are the punchy blues numbers, to which one could dance, the job of bass and drums Millns simply takes over. But there are also the ballads, especially the new songs – sedate  and gentle he acts, less rebelling and more wisdom of life, radiating almost meditative serenity.

All titles have equal depth and grounding. Instead of sitting on a cushioned piano stool, he sits on a hard wooden chair, and so does his music – nothing dressed up, softened, but pure life: straight, clear sounds with little flourishes and a lot of emotion.

Not only does Paul Millns play music, he is music, and he himself underpins his announcements with key tones. He acts as a medium through which the sounds flow directly from the source via instrument and voice to the audience. This inspiration is probably a secret of his success as a musician, who also thrilled the audience even without the announced duo partner Butch Coulter.

The concert of the Eisenach parish is due to superintendent Ralf-Peter Fuchs, who has long been friends with Paul Millns, as well as the jazz club that provided the piano. At the end: fierce, long applause and everyone’s desire for his speedy return.

Susanne Sobko / 27.08.18