We could use a space for posting comments about performances we've seen where we don't feel like creating a separate thread for a review.
I got to see both David Byrne and Peter Hammill last week. I'll get to that in a second, but first hey look, David Byrne hiked up Camelback Mountain twice when he was in town. I looked at his journal following the show and enjoyed reading about his adventures in the cities he's visiting, such as breaking into houses, walking across the Rio Grande, lots of bike riding. Figured it would probably be too hot to do much in Phoenix, and so was surprised to see the photos from those hikes posted today, and with no complaints about the heat, though his group was stopped by a local who topped off the small water bottles they were each carrying.
Check out the gorgeous photo of the theater too. He began the show by talking about the place, pointing out the clouds moving on the ceiling. The last time I was there was for KC in '03. (Hey if RF were to return, you'd all come, right?)http://journal.davidbyrne.com/
(see the posts for 9/29 and 9/30)
I got to go because a friend had the Hengrenade Chicken instead of his usual Gringo Chicken at the Chino Bandito. Well I think that's what he was saying lead to an arthritic flare-up. Generously, he called me a few hours before the show and asked if I wanted to go.
First off promoter Danny Zelisko came out and told the crowd he needed to sell tickets and so was offering them 2 for the price of 1 for both Mars Volta on Wednesday and Peter Hammill on Tuesday. Nice, that enabled the friend who was with me, who had already spent a lot for concerts in the last two weeks (he also went to Santana and My Morning Jacket), to come along for PH too. I was unsure exactly how that deal worked so I sent off an email and got an answer from Zelisko himself. Currently restraining myself
from writing back thanking him for bringing Hammill to town, with surely no expectation of making any money, and then giving it a try once again to get the exact date for Fripp at ASU in '83. Probably my best opportunity but I think I've giving up on that quest.
So...the Byrne concert. Well if you want a review you can go here,
but guess I can put down a few thoughts. Strange going to a rock concert where less than half the people on stage were playing instruments: two drummers, bass, keyboards, guitar vs. three background singers and three dancers. It was an admirably risky move to have dancers, but it worked. I don't particularly care for the opening tune Strange Overtones,
but it was exciting when the band launched into the second tune, I Zimbra,
and the dancers came out and started escorting the singers around the stage. Think I'll leave off the description there, and instead just recommend looking for a video at YouTube of this or one of the other uptempo numbers -- I've seen a link to one of The Great Curve.
The ballads sorta bore me, on the recent album as well as live, but elsewhere a nicely simmering groove was achieved, let's hear it for double drummers, and it was fun to hear four Remain in Light
tunes, and a version with live vocals of Help me Somebody
From beautiful grand old theater to small room two nights later. My friend had to arrive late for the Peter Hammill show but for this it wasn't really a concern that I had to wait outside for him instead of going in to get a seat. When he arrived we found seats at the bar with a good view. The room was, if far from packed, at least loosely filled, even if it seemed unlikely that most of the people in the back where I was paid for tickets. Description seems futile because if you care, you know what a Peter Hammill solo performance is like. So I don't really need to say, intense. Taking sips from his big glass of wine throughout, he seemed to pop out of a trance at the end of the songs, occasionally vigorously rubbing his face in a seeming attempt to return to reality. I wished he would do more of his 70's songs of course, though Modern
was fantastic as an encore, and I liked how Been Alone So Long
was different from the version I've heard a recording of from NYC in June. His voice and the chords he was playing on his acoustic guitar were unbelievably quiet toward the end of the song, only possible with the cooperation of everyone there, and so at the end of the show he thanked the audience and the bar staff for the quiet. Yes the Rhythm Room is calling out for a Soundscapes performance, lol.
The hour and forty minutes or so went by fast, and afterwards we were very glad we had been there.