Concert Review – Al Di Meola 4/3/11
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)