Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Adrian Belew Power Trio in New York City

Adrian Belew, Julie Slick, Eric Slick on stage last night at BB King's, New York City

You know, I'm getting choked up just typing this.

How can I possible tell you about the magic that was the Adrian Belew Power Trio last night in New York City? From the opening notes of the first song, Writing on the Wall, I really had to struggle to keep it together. I was shaking, holding back tears...but the sheer genius of the music and the musicians and the obvious pure joy they were having on stage immediately got me out of weepy Mom persona and into full rock music afficienado mode.

This band is amazing. I'm not saying that because Julie and Eric are my offspring...the chemistry of this trio is freaking insane. Incredible is not strong enough a word. The crowd gave them two standing, screaming ovations...and BB Kings, on a hot summer Tuesday night in New York City, was almost completely sold out. I think there may have been some standing room only spots left by the bar, but it was PACKED. I had an incredible seat in the center of the venue and I was watching the audience reaction -- they were completely blown away.

Let's talk about some of the people in the audience who came up to me after the show and couldn't stop raving about Eric, Julie, and Adrian (who looked twenty years old up on stage last night).

I want to start by talking about the first man who walked over and almost caused me to have a seizure. John Hawken. When he introduced himself to me and then proceeded to tell me how much he enjoyed the show; how brilliant Julie and Eric were -- and he went on and on about them, about their technique, their stage presence, etc., it was hard for me to even take in what he was saying. The whole time my brain was saying John Hawken, John Hawken...I cannot believe I am talking to John Hawken.

"John became a founding member of Renaissance -- a band formed from the ashes of The Yardbirds, the band that had birthed legendary guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Former Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty created Renaissance with the help of Keith's sister, Jane Relf (vocals), Louis Cennamo (ex-Steamhammer (Rod Stewart's old band) on bass) and John Hawken on keyboards."

Do you have any idea how many times I played that Renaissance album back in the seventies? Do you know I still have it on eight-track? Kings and Queens is one of the most brilliant songs...oh my god...I can't do this proper justice and besides, I'm crying right now. Holy cow. I hope I can finish this post.

Okay. Then, I met and continued to receive outrageously fantastic raves from Kevin March of Guided by Voices, Dave Dreiwitz of Ween, Jon Paris, Aaron Comess of the Spin Doctors, Saul Zonana, Project Object's André Cholmondeley and Robbie "Seahag" Mangano, Bill Saunders and his lady Nancy, and John Wilcox of Prog Sheets and also a talented comic book illustrator (the Elvira series, for one and who reads my blog and of course teased me about Neil Gaiman).

And I admit it, I was totally stoked to have an all access pass and eat backstage with Adrian and Martha Belew. Martha, by the way, is incredible. She's drop dead gorgeous, funny, smart, and does double duty as Adrian's manager. He's a very lucky man, but then again, she's a very lucky woman because Adrian is one of the sweetest, most non-pretentious rock stars I've ever met. Still reeling from the death of his long time engineer Ken Latchney, last night started out as bittersweet as it was the first show in ten years Adrian performed without Ken behind the soundboard.

However, in Ken's spot last night was the absolutely fabulous John Sinks, long time engineer for Robert Fripp.

Anyway, I can't wait for the show this coming Monday at World Cafe Live. Hey, have you bought your tickets yet? If not, click on that link! This show will make your freaking soul rise, and, -- as John Hawken remarked to me, it will restore your faith in music.

Oh my god, I still can't believe I had a conversation with John Hawken.

I guess you have to be a serious music fanatic, but there you have it. I'm going to be high for days between Adrian's genius and the show last night, the stellar compliments I received about Julie and Eric from the above mentioned luminaries, and well, hanging out backstage at BB Kings with Camp Belew.

I know John Wilcox among others are reviewing the show so as soon as they are written, I will post the links. I'm still way too excited/hungover (sleep deprived hungover, that is -- didn't get home til 2:00 a.m. and inexplicably woke up four hours later) to think straight.

So. More on the music later, more photos, reviews, etc. once I return to normal.

Ha. As if that'll ever happen.



Susan Henderson said...

Wow wow wow. What an incredible night.

I'm seriously bummed you won't be at Amagansett. I was hoping to see you before I'm off to Virginia.

RobinSlick said...

Aw, thanks. And I left stuff out -- I'm way too emotional this morning.

I'm bummed about missing tonight, too. I'd love to be on this whole tour but I really think J&E would rather I didn't. So I will have to be content writing about it from afar though actually, I get to see them Monday in Philly and two shows in Florida next week (that's what they bought me for my birthday -- I think I already told you that so I guess they don't mind me being there after all)

Richard said...

Your emotion and excitement are palpable. I wish I could have been there for the magic, too--what an incredible evening it must have been.

Henry Baum said...

I'm jealous. Adrian Belew rules. I'd like to see him in a trio.

RobinSlick said...

Hey, thanks.

The west coast swing in November looks like it will include both New Mexico and LA. I'll post info as soon as I have it.

Richard said...

NEW MEXICO??? FAR OUT!!! Do you know the venue yet? There's a great outdoor amphitheatre in Santa Fe called Paolo Soleri, where I saw Moby, Chris Isaak, the Violent Femmes, and Elvis Costello on obviously different tours. I hope they play here!

Richard said...

Although November will probably be too cold at this altitude, damn it!

Ellen said...

I tried to leave a comment here yesterday but blogger was being finicky, and now I can't remember what I wanted to say.

Anyway, I'm glad it was such a magical night, Rob. My parents call this kind of joy "nachas," which you deserve ... and can probably pronounce. ;)


Anonymous said...

I'm smiling, Robin. What an exciting night for you and your talented kids.

Anonymous said...

ugh...that was me, Kath, ha

tohu said...

I was there, Tuesday night (wouldn't have missed it for the world!)...

You have EVERY reason to be proud - It wasn't Julie & Eric's technical virtuosity relative to their ages alone which amazed; but the FEROCITY of their playing, the manner in which they stood toe-to-toe with a man like Belew! My skin was raised in goosebumps, through the first three songs!

Julie's equanimity, while pounding out these fierce songs played originally - remember, all! - by the likes of Tony Levin & Les Claypool, was stunning...The Crimson-y encore, with Thela Hun Ginjeet & Elephant Talk (with Julie hammering-on the part originally played on Chapman Stick by Levin), after an intense set of metrically & melodically tricky songs, let all of us Crimson/Belew fans stunned...

And Eric appeared as nothing less than the next Terry Bozzio, lifting up from his stool, as Bozzio would, smacking & then tamping cymbals, and working beautifully with that snare & the double kick pedals...

It was a privilege to see your kids, that night; and, believe me, they'll have a lot of people following their careers, looking for their names, in the future--just as people followed Belew or Bozzio, after their tenures with Zappa...

RobinSlick said...

Thanks, Kath. I mean Thanks, Anonymous.

Ellen, I just read that as "nachos". I was like, mmm, nachos. And yeah, it was magic and I can't believe I get to do it again next week.

Tohu, you just made me cry. I read this out loud just now with tears running down my face. Thank you so, so much. I passed this comment on to Julie and Eric.

Anonymous said...

I was at B.B. King's on Tuesday sitting right behind the sound man, and I have to say that while I appreciate the loss of Adrian's long time engineer Ken, this guy despite all his experience did a poor job. He had the kick drum so high in the mix you could not hear the Bass at all. This is something that should be addressed for future shows. Not that it means anything, but I used to do pro audio all over NY and have some idea of what needed to be done.

RobinSlick said...

Actually, Anonymous, John remarked to me after the show that he wasn't happy with the bass so he was more than aware of problems. It was a combination of things, actually, one of which is the venue itself.

I think it's safe to say that if Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew and John Paul Jones as well as ELP have used John as their engineer, he must be doing something right.

But hey, thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoyed the show regardless! And if you want to travel to Philly to see the show on Monday, I'll personally buy your ticket. E-mail me.