The Magic Highway


This article (loosely translated) appeared in Russia's Music Box magazine (No 36) in 2006. It was a lengthy piece which summarised the history of Christie (a lot of which used this website as a reference), except for the original excerpts below, which describe the shows at Sopot (1970) and Russia (2001).

By Mikhail Kuzischev

THE British team Christie never really contested a meaningful role in rock.
    They have not recorded a conceptual album, nor invented a revolutionary sound. But they belonged to the category of bands who believed in playing happy music.
    It seems that groups of this kind are unlikely to merit large and serious articles in journals. But sometimes the music has been so good that you just want to go to see the artist and tell him "thank you" for the music.
    Christie is one of the groups which produced good though unjustly forgotten music. And so there is a desire to pay tribute to this team, which is almost forgotten today — and together, through them, hundreds of other, lesser-known teams that played "just music", but did so with soul and skill, always to please their listeners.

Sopot 1970

IN August, Christie visited Poland on a two-day visit, becoming the first Western rock band to overcome the Iron Curtain.
    Their presentation at the festival in the city of Sopot was a historic event, not only for the Poles, but for all lovers of rock in socialist bloc countries, and especially for residents of the USSR, who previously could only dream of watching such a concert.
Music Box     The performance was viewed by 250 million viewers, including Vladimir Ilyinsky, now a leading music program presenter in Moscow and renowned expert in the field of 60s and 70s rock. He shared some memories about this historic event:
    "For all of us, despite the fact that we had listened to rock and the Beatles, an international festival in Sopot still had importance and occasion. First, because it was an international festival, and secondly, television was so empty that even watching the British and the Bulgarians or Czechs was still interesting!
    Everyone knew that there would be a big international performer under the curtain. But no-one knew in advance who it would be and we waited excitedly for this gala. We all thought it would be a famous singer.
    It happened very suddenly, as is usually the case. The audience applauded after hearing the presenter say the name of the singer ... but the camera moved to the stage and you could see that there was a group.
The first feeling was as if they came from the moon or Mars! Here among all this was a pop group. The leader was in the foreground with a basketball shirt without sleeves and a huge star on the chest. And they began to play Yellow River.
  I figured that the gods had descended to the ground — they were so cool. Then the musicians played New York City and San Bernadino.
  The TV commentator said something like "We have never seen this before" and so on. Then the group again performed Yellow River. We could not believe it, it seemed that the above was simply impossible!
  You can say we were the Christie People's Party!
  Those who saw them in the 70s will never ever forget it. Their music is unforgettable. It doesn't matter how simple music is, if it is made with the soul of the author and the composer has talent, that overrides all."

Moscow 2001

ON that day Jeff was in perfect shape.
  There was a tempestuous reaction of several thousand spectators who came to the concert in Moscow's Olympic sports complex, and you could see that Jeff was slightly shocked and somewhat embarrassed.
  Together with three other musicians, Jeff gave viewers no respite, issuing a decent set consisting of Christie classics and numbers by the Beatles, Creedence and Free, played in a powerful and professional interpretation.
  The atmosphere in the hall was just fantastic. Your servant humbly still believes it was one of the best concerts of all that he saw in his life.
  Maybe one day Jeff Christie will return to Russia, but for now we just have to wait and rejoice for Jeff, who continues to play his music in various other countries.