CGT @ Shank Hall
My ass is dragging today because A) I've only had a couple cups of coffee and B) I got to bed late last night. The occasion was the California Guitar Trio
show in Milwaukee. I arrived at Shank Hall shortly before the doors opened at 7. While waiting in line, Tony Levin, who would be playing with CGT, walked out the door and past us an shattered all my illisions. Having seen him play a few times, I always figured he was like 6'5". This illusion must have been created by the fact that he's very thin and often times plays a Chapman stick which is generally held fairly vertically. My image of him had always been a vertical one. But I discovered that he is of average height. Whoda thunk it?
Anyway, I met a guy standing in line and we shot the shit for a while. When the doors opened, I plowed inside and found a seat right up front. Another guy, Dave, grabbed a couple seats at the table for himself and a friend. He was a middle-aged semi-hippie kind of guy and we chatted. Just before the show, I stepped outside for a root and saw Hideyo from CGT approaching - he too with a cigarette in hand. This drew the attention of a guy standing a bit to my left who approached him for some autographs. I ended up shooting the shit with this guy for a short time but cannot recall his name. But I do have his email address.
Once back inside, it wasn't long before the show started. Not only was it great to see the boys again after nearly 3 years, but it was also really cool to be able to see a show involving Tony Levin where I was 12 feet from him instead of 1200. I don't recall the setlist in its entirety but I do remember various bits. For instance, they did Bach's “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” which was memorable because it rocked and, well, it was Bach! They also did "Miserlou" (yes, the song Dick Dale popularized), Yes' "heart of the Sunrise", and many an original composition. From their new albu, Whitewater
, they did "Mee-Woo", "Cosmo Calypso" (a rather neat tune featuring a calypso beat laced with pscyhedelia), a medley of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and "Riders on the Storm" by the Doors, and "The Marsh". The last one was dedicated to Les Collins who was Robert Fripp's gardener and had passed away shortly before the recording of the album. During the intro to the song, Paul Richards told a humorous little story which involved the time he and the rest of CGT spent at Fripp's Guitar Craft
. Richards humorously detailed how he was the first student allowed to drive Robert Fripp's car and how another student evnetually did so as well but got into an accident thusly ending the use of the car. OK, I thought it was funny but, it's probably meaningless if you aren't familiar with Fripp's eccentricities. (All you Crimso fans know what I'm talking about.) They also played a part of a concerto for guitar that they've been writing with Jon Anderson of Yes. Personally, I thought it was fantastic and wish very much to have heard more. Another song which I really enjoyed (again) was one whose name I cannot recall. It took a Japanese folk song, threw in a couple bits of King Crimson ("21st Century Schizoid Man"), and put it to acoustic surf guitar. They closed the set out with the aforementioned "Heart of the Sunrise". The first encore was Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" for which Hideyo turned the lone mic around to get the audience singing. And sing we did.
My only gripe about the show was that they didn't do "Train to Lamy Suite" which is just a fucking great song. It's got dynamics and some fuzzy acoustic guitar gone electric and, well, it just rocks. On the other hand, the show was fantastic and it was cool to be able to be so close and see how these guys do their thing. Yeah, they're all hyper-talented but watching how 3 hyper-talented guitar players stay together when they're playing the same notes or completely different parts is really a sight to behold. Watching each of them play something completely different and hearing the gestalt which was a wonderful melody was just awesome! Plus I got to see Levin ply his trade close up. And he used those finger-extender hoolies that he has to slap the strings.
Here's a couple pictures. I took many but either my camera needs a couple more CCDs, it can't take very good low-light pictures, or I just don't know what the fuck I'm doing. (Probably the last one.) For this first one, keep in mind that the picture was very dark. Then add into the equation that I don't have Photoshop on this PC and the monitor is going bad so it can't display a very bright picture. So here's Paul:
Here's the band saying goodbye: