Archive for the ‘one world theatre’ Category
I don’t quite know how to review this show. My brain hurts yet I’m extremely relaxed because of the events of last night’s show with Paco de Lucia.
It was because if Al Di Meola that I found out about Paco…and really it was Riot<Di Meola<Paco. The album Friday Night In San Francisco with Di Meola, McLaughlin and de Lucia was my introduction to his playing.
I’ve always heard that after Segovia died, Paco pretty much was deemed the greatest living guitar player. I think that may be true.
I bought tickets for this show 14 months ago and we were 2nd row in the center section. The amazing One World Theatre put on this show and they used The Riverbend Church for the venue since it holds a few thousand people. The place was beautiful and the sound was great. With our tickets we had VIP status which basically just gave us a nice dinner before the show. All this week leading up to this show I’ve been a little giddy. Last night’s show and this weekend’s Arch/Matheos show close some gaps for me for bands to see before I die.
After the dinner and milling around the courtyard we went in and got a nice look at the venue. Really not a bad seat in the place.
The lights finally come down and Paco takes the stage on his own and plays for a while. It was beautiful. Even in his mid-60s the man showed why he has such a high status of a guitarist. He was just phenomenal. After about 10 minutes some of his band mates came out to add some vocals. The vocal stylings sounded very Arabic but were clearly in Spanish. Of course there is that whole invasion of the Moors thing and this sounded like an influence from that. It was quite interesting.
For a few numbers one of the singers did some flamenco styled dancing and it was pretty impressive. His percussionist was great as were the harmonica/keyboardist, the bassplayer and the 2nd guitarist. It was a great combination of musicians and musicianship.
Paco didn’t have a vocal mic and only spoke into his guitar mic to introduce the band. I heard rhythms tonight that I don’t think I have ever heard before. Listening to the music and watching Paco’s leg in the count was pretty mind-numbing. And of course Paco shredded in some spots, but not in the same way you’d see Yngwie or Di Meola do it. It was just f’n awesome and damned near perfect.
Cameras were not allowed during the performance but I managed to catch a shot or 2 when he came out for the encore.
The show looked to be just around 3/4 full, maybe a little less, which is a pity. He doesn’t come to the US very often and he’s not getting any younger. Many thanks to One World Theatre for putting this on!
I’m the first to admit that I haven’t bought anything by Di Meola since his 1996 “…Plays Piazzolla” CD. For me, 1983′s “Scenario” was my last favorite of the “electric era” and all those before it were all great. Al is the man. He’s got it all: technique, feel, speed, originality. It wasn’t long after 1983 that he went more acoustic than electric style and really put out a lot of the world music stuff. It just wasn’t my thing. Sure it was Al playing some good stuff, but I loved that classic fusion analog stuff from the 70s and early 80s that he did.
I mentioned in another post about seeing Return To Forever a few years back and how great it was and also about missing a Di Meola show in Norfolk because he canceled the day of the show. Luckily he didn’t cancel tonight.
Tonight’s show at the One World Theatre proved once again that this is one of the greatest places to see a show. Great seating, great sound, intimate. I was fortunate to score 2 seats on the center aisle, 2nd row and we had no one sitting in front of us. Perfection. My guitarist, Doug Morrison, attended with me.
Al comes on at about 6:10PM, says hello to the crowd, cracks a joke or 2 (Is Willie still here?”) and they go right into their set, opening with a song called Fire On Babylon. He was on the acoustic for almost the entire set until they went into Midnight Tango and he strapped on his Paul Reed Smith and played electric for the end of the set and for the encore. He was great. Period. His band was awesome (standup electric bass, drums, rhythm acoustic guitar, drums, percussion, accordion) and filled with all non-Americans except for his percussionist. The real standout member was his accordion player, Fausto. I’m rather neutral on how I feel about that instrument in general, but this guy was quite incredible. The whole band was. Al put down the shred on both the acoustic and electric like only he can do it. He picks almost every note and his precision is incredible. It was quite exhilarating to be sitting 10 feet from a musician that I have respected for about 20+ years now.
Even being unfamiliar with most of the material from tonight’s show, it didn’t really matter. It was as I expected and more. I’m looking forward to his next tour already.
I grabbed a setlist from the stage and this is the what was listed as “1st Set”. There was another set to be performed at 8:30PM and I wonder if it was going to be any different.
- Fire on Babylon
- Brave New World
- Double Concerto
- Full Frontal Contrapuntal
- Midnight Tango/One Night Last June
- Race With The Devil On A Spanish Highway (encore)
This was my second time seeing Colin Hay doing his solo acoustic show and it was great. You can read about past experiences with Colin and men At Work here.
The show was at the One World Theatre. This place is one of the best places to see a band that I have ever been to. It’s small (maybe 250 seats) and acoustically perfect. It’s in the Texas Hill Country and it’s got a gorgeous setting.
Opening the show was a guy named Chris Trapper (His Wikipedia page here). He wasn’t bad at all. Apparently he wrote a song on the Autumn Rush soundtrack. He had a few good jokes, played about 6 or 7 songs and was gone.
Colin comes on stage to a standing ovation, straps on his Maton acoustic, tunes it and goes right into Men At Work’s Down Under. After this song he starts his joking and storytelling. He hadn’t gotten to the second song yet and says, “Maybe we’ll get 4 or 5 songs in tonight.” If you’ve seen him before, you know he likes to talk, a lot. It’s part of his show and he’s really an interesting guy.
He ended up playing 9 songs, a few of which I don’t think I had heard before. Of the 9, three were men At work songs: Down Under, Who Can It Be Now?, and Overkill. I saw that he had added Blue For You to a few shows last year and I really hoped we would have heard that one last night, but no dice. Didn’t matter. He sounded great. His voice is still strong and he’s a really good guitar player as well.
During the closer, Overkill, he used a memory man pedal to record the main riff of the song during the song and actually got to play the guitar solo. He didn’t do that last time and it was pretty cool. I love that song.
After the show, he did a meet and greet. Lots of people there buying his new CD which was just released that day. Lots of folks had Men At Work stuff. One girl was wearing a vintage Cargo Tour shirt, which was pretty cool. I got through the line, just shook his hand, told him it was a great show and that I had seen him a few times before. I mentioned the solo show in 2009 and Men At Work in 1999. We snapped a quick photo and I was on my merry way. He looked pretty tired, but he was smiling.
If you get a chance to see this tour, do it.
Setlist (only songs 1,2,3 and 9 are in proper order):
- Down Under
- Wayfaring Sons
- Who Can It Be Now?
- Prison Time
- Beautiful World
- I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you
- Waiting for my real life to begin
Sometime in the mid-80s, I think, a friend of mine turned me on to some jazz stuff and the one band that stuck with me was Mahavishnu Orchestra. Their album Birds of Fire remains the greatest jazz/fusion album I have ever heard. Part of the reason, a big part really, was because of the drummer, Billy Cobham. He was a very musical drummer and I loved his work on his first solo album, Spectrum and the Miles Davis albums Bitches Brew and Live-Evil. He’s just a man-beast of a drummer in his chops, but he plays such a light fluid style.
That Mahavishnu album is very special to me. When I was still drumming (84-2000), I used to practice along with Birds of Fire quite often. No, I wasn’t able to play a lot of the stuff he was doing on there, but I tried my damnedest to play along and keep up. It was good practice.
When I saw that he was playing at the One World Theatre here in Austin, I had to go. I was able to score second row seats on the center aisle. Doug Morrison came along. I’d never been to this place but Doug mentioned several times how small and awesome it is. He was right. You almost feel like you’re in your own house watching a band with perfect acoustics. The place is pretty awesome. The sound was great.
Billy’s band consists of all foreigners, including Billy. I never knew he was Panamanian. The whole band was just great and one would expect no less. But then there’s Billy. I’ve never seen such a big drummer with such a soft style. He proved all night that power drumming has absolutely nothing to do with how hard one hits. He was so fluid and solid. He did hit harder for accent in spots, but it wasn’t his main thing. It was quite awesome to watch how he was conducting things from behind the kit. Normally he’d play with his eyes closed, but when they were opened, it was usually to give someone a cue as to what was coming next. In one spot he looked over to the bassist and guitar player and just said, “four” and they just nodded and smiled. Some of the stuff they played really had that early 70s Mahavishnu feel to it.
He is so musical of a drummer and it really took me back to my playing days. It made me miss it badly. Not that I was even remotely a jazz/fusion style drummer, but I did try to be a little musical about it instead of just keeping the beat. Both Doug and I sat there in awe. For 64 years old, he is still incredibly awesome.
After the show Billy was doing an autograph signing and I didn’t bring anything as I didn’t expect him to come out and hang out. I did have him sign my ticket and he was gracious enough to do a photo with me. They didn’t allow cameras during the show so I have no photos of the band. Pity. But I do have the awesome shot below!
If this tour comes anywhere near you and you even remotely like jazz/fusion, you will not be disappointed. Just go! I’m even more excited about seeing John McLaughlin, Colin Hay and Al Dimeola there in the coming months.