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Sep 25

Leon Russell Friday Night

2 comments - Read or Post a comment     Filed under General BS!

Going to see old favorite rockers is much like going to class reunions: it seems like a good idea at the time, but at the end you wonder why you went; everyone has changed, nothing is as remembered, and you wish you were home flipping through the TiVo.*

We got to Fagan’s Irish Pub here in Fresno around 8:30pm. A sign at the door said that no one without tickets would be admitted after 7:30, but no one paid any attention to us, or asked for tickets; which we had. We found seats in the back, about 30′ from the stage, where you couldn’t hear the guy on the stage playing guitar and singing, or whatever he was doing.

Around 9pm, or so, after a lecture on “How 50 pluses should act during the show: No rushing the stage; No flash pictures, or No flashers, or both, I couldn’t tell; No something else that no one could hear”, Leon hobbled on stage helped by a metal tripod cane. He has all his hair which is white and a long beard which is also white; he ain’t thin anymore but resembles a Santa Claus with shades and a cowboy hat.

He, and his band, sang and played for about an hour and a half. Not bad, but not all that great. Mostly Ok and still as loud as remembered. Which means I could hear him.

The one song he really screwed up was “A Song to You,” which is a very simple song that is meant to be private and low key. For some reason, Leon does not seem to understand his own song. He sang it the same, or close to the same, but since he has one of those new digital pianos that have “tons” of sounds, he played the melody as a cross between the organ in “The Phantom of the Opera” and ice rink “music”. It was dreadful; a great song ruined by excess.

The encore consisted of Leon saying we should pretend he has left the stage and “unexpectedly returned,” instead of the phony surprise return that most groups do. I like and approve that approach; groups should just say “we are playing 2 more songs”, or whatever, and leave.

And, now, a comment. I find it curious how people “of a certain age” react, or, actually, don’t react, in a concert setting. Most people just sit in their chair and don’t move a muscle, expect maybe to go to the restroom, or order a drink, or drink the drink. Come on folks, we aren’t dead yet. Tap your feet; scratch; do something; pretend you’re alive. End comment.

After the show, he signed stuff. Which meant that we stood in line next to the door of his tour bus and a member of his crew collected it, in my case the blue “Leon Russell” album, (one guy took his tee-shirt off for signing) took it to Leon, or someone (who can tell), and signed it. A few minutes later it came back without any direct contact with Leon which is probably just as well as I might just have said something not very nice about “A Song for You”: I had just enough Black and Tan in me to not keep quiet.

* Fujie deserves credit for the reunion comparison which I think is “right on”. The moral of this story is don’t go to reunions and don’t go to see “old” favorite groups or musicians. Stay home, look at photos, or listen to the music, and remember the past as it might have been. Reality is not necessarily a good way to spend the evening.

There are exceptions: Mark Knoppler who we saw in Mountain View a couple of years ago was as good, if not better than during the Dire Straits days. And, maybe Roger Waters. We will see him next month and make a judgement. Based on the DVDs “In the Flesh” and “The Wall”, I think he might just break the rule.

Sep 22

Can I stay up this late?

2 comments - Read or Post a comment     Filed under General BS!

I just found out that Leon Russell is going to be in Fresno tonight. I used to love this guy; musically, I mean.

$35.00 to see him at Fagan’s Irish pub from 9pm to whatever. Since he’s about the same age, probably 9:15.

I remember seeing him in Berkeley around 1973 and having ringing in my ears for days after. Between the guns and the music, it’s no wonder I’m deaf.

Will we go? I will let you know…

Sep 15

3 Great Albums from an underated group

No comment - Post a comment     Filed under General BS!, Music

So, I am sitting here at work, working and listening to Alabama 3, or A3, as they are known, or not known, in the US; a great group that only a few of us seem to know about.

Their most famous song, “Woke Up This Morning”, is the opening theme for the Soprano’s. That is the song I started with when I tracked them down 3 or 4 years ago. Though it is a great song, it is not any better than many others from their 3 main albums:

Exile On Cold Harbour Lane which includes “Woke Up This Morning”.

La Peste which includes a really nice, and spooky, version of “Hotel California”.

Power in the Blood

I will post some sample .mp3’s later. In the meantime you can visit their website at www.alabama3.co.uk/ and get the latest news.

Ye shall not possess any beast, my dear sisters, except only a cat. - The Ancren Riewle (Nun's Rule)




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