The American premiere of the big band, Blue Aquarius, saw over 10,000 people very "blissed out." Bhole Ji, the conductor, directed love for two and a half hours- such love that thousands were on their feet applauding and dancing in Houston's Hermann Park, September 29. Bhole Ji and Blue Aquarius received a standing ovation at intermission and after the finale were called back for an encore. The concert might never have ended, except for the late hour.
Americans love music. And American music has always been big on beat, swing and rhythm. John Philip Sousa took military bands and fused them with the swing of Dixieland. Dixieland blossomed into the Big Beat Sound, while Jazz and Blues gave birth to Rock and Roll. Americans have created just about every major type of modern music, borrowing from sources throughout the world in order to add to the treasure house of song.
Smack dab in the middle of America's musical heritage is an entirely new musical phenomenon waiting to electrify and revolutionize American music history. Blue Aquarius will skyrocket onto the American music scene with the tightest, most diversifed sound that human ears have ever heard! Blue Aquarius is a 50 piece rock orchestra manned entirely by followers of Guru Maharaj Ji.
They will soon be touring and then travel with Soul Rush, giving free concerts along the way. They will also perform each evening at the Houston Astrodome during the three-day Millennium '73 festival.
Blue Aquarius is the brainchild of one individual: Bhole Ji. Six months ago, when Guru Maharaj Ji announced he wanted a festival in England in June, Bhole Ji was studying in London. Alexandra Palace, the largest building in England, was obtained for the festival. It holds 20,000 people. Bhole Ji immediately. .decided he had better get a big band together to provide enough music to reach all those people. So he sent out word that he would form a band with the best musicians from among Guru Maharaj Ji's six million devotees.
Musicians from America flew into London and went straight to meet with Bhole Ji, as did musicians from Amsterdam, West Germany, Ireland and Wales. Starting with a nucleus made up of members of the Anand Band, the London based devotional rock band which recorded the Lord of the Universe album, Bhole Ji began auditioning.
With only two months to go till the festival, Bhole Ji rented out a number of small halls throughout the south of London, and held rehearsals three nights a week, eight weeks in a row. The band grew from 10 to 50 members, and finally was pared, down to 42. Seldom have so many become so together so fast.
Less than two years ago Bhole Ji had never been to the West. He knew practically nothing about Western music. Even so, his rapport with music was so great that when he arrived in America for the first time, members of Santana and the Grateful Dead contacted him about playing together. In London, Bhole Ji stayed up late at night talking with musicians and listening to tapes of all kinds of music from Benny Goodman to James Brown to Tchaikovsky. He learned quickly, because of his total dedication.
At the Festival in London, Bhole Ji brought Blue Aquarius before the public for the first time. They had the 20,000 strong crowd out of their seats and everyone was dancing and clapping along with them. Each of the three nights of the festival, the crowd demanded several encores. Bhole Ji displayed his undeniable rapport with this "live-wire" band, leading them from one dynamite song to the next. Most of their music was entirely original, and the styles from one end to the other of the music spectrum.
Shortly after their first public appearance, Blue Aquarius made two appearances in the Hammersmith Odeon, London. This hall is a historic place in the British rock and roll world. Every single top name act has performed there at some time or another during its career. Thus it was fitting that Blue Aquarius should perform there for their second public appearance.
Derek Jewel, writing in the London Sunday Times, commented on the band's performance, "Excellent. … You can hear James Brown, Ray Charles, Elvis, Isaac Hayes, the Platters, Satchmo, Pink Floyd and the Eurovisibn Song Contest right in there. Polished solos stream eloquently forth… It was really fine." At the end of the performance, the 3000 strong audience brought the band back for two encores. The entire two and a half hours was recorded by the Rolling Stones' portable studio, and will be released as a double album soon.
Bhole Ji talked about reactions to Blue Aquarius in an interview with the Swiss Les Temps Divins. "After last night's concert at the Hammersmith Odeon, three members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and one from the London Symphony Orchestra came to find us in order to join. I told them, 'Take the Knowledge first, and then you will come play." Bhole Ji explained that every single member of the band is utterly devoted to universal peace, and to the source of that peace, Guru Maharaj Ji.
Concerning the way Blue Aquarius performs on stage, Bhole Ji explained, "Some people don't understand why it is so organized. But the man who rented up the Odeon had seen many orchestras, and groups like the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, etc., and he said that they were not the same thing, they lacked something. They took so much time to go from one song to another. But with this band there is nothing like that. That man said that he had worked 22 years in that hall, but he had never seen anything like it in his life."
After the London engagements Bhole Ji immediately turned his gaze to the Millennium '73 festival scheduled to be held in Houston within four months. He flew the entire band to Houston and set up shop there. Everyday Blue. Aquarius rehearses, and an entirely new repetoire of songs has been written. They have expanded to 56 members, and Bhole Ji is supervising the formation of a 60 voice choir.
For the Millennium '73 festival Bhole Ji and Blue Aquarius will make full utilization of the world's greatest sound and light show facilities. Blue Aquarius will perform a specially prepared medley of songs taken from the Sixties, in addition to their own music. Bhole Ji explained Blue Aquarius' approach to modern music, "It is a new sound of '73 and of the future. It is free sound. People are tired of hearing the same old songs, they want something new that they can listen to again and again. This new sound we have realized with the help and by the grace of Guru Maharaj Ji: we hope to be able to continue."