Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Adrian Belew Power Trio on Tour: Florida (and can you say Peach Cobbler?)

Adrian Belew Power Trio - last night of summer tour at the Bamboo Room in Lake Worth, Florida (photo courtesy of uber fan Joshua Kritzer, who attended all three Florida shows starting in Jacksonville, then St. Petersburg, and finally Lake Worth, which is near West Palm Beach, so he traveled some major distance from show to show)

ETA 8-23-06: Eric has updated his tour blog.

So it's back to the real world after an amazing three days in Florida and I wish I had a time machine so I could do it all over again. It was that great -- definitely ranking in my top ten experiences as both a parent and music fanatic and without a doubt the very best birthday I've ever had. In case you missed all of the billboards I posted, Julie and Eric (and Martha and Adrian Belew!) gave me this trip as a gift and I got to see the last two shows of the summer tour.

On Friday morning I flew into Tampa and cabbed it to the hotel in St. Petersburg where the trio had a show at the State Theater.

Actually, I lifted that photo from the website of musician Jay Yarbrough who created a special tribute page on his own website right here, but you know the drill, I'm far too excited not to post what he said here as well:

Adrian Belew
w/ Eric & Julie Slick
State Theatre, St. Petersburg, FL
August 18, 2006
"Adrian Belew's "Power Trio" took the stage around 10pm to an almost sold-out theatre and delivered exactly what Adrian Belew fans have come to expect: fun brilliance. His latest band consists of the brother and sister Slick who were warmly received ~ but only because they kicked ass. Julie played with a chilled style and gave Adrians music what it needed. At 20 years old, I was damn impressed. As for Eric (19 yrs), that brotha stomped! I've been composing for many years and let me say, it couldn't have been more than 3 measures into the opening song before his playing grabbed my attention. You rock, Eric.

As for Adrian? Well.., this was my third time seeing him perform and I don't believe I've ever seen him happier. Oh.., he played pretty good, too (wink)."

And yep, what Jay says is true, the venue was packed and because I did merch, when Adrian introduced the band fourth song in, he also gave me a shout out and I was swarmed by fans all during the show telling me how incredible the trio sounded and also met some people from the Philadelphia area who knew people from my past! Oh man, it was so much fun that when I got back to our hotel, I couldn't even sleep...I just kept reliving the evening and the incredible music and comments all night long.

Here's another review I found from a fan:

"Yesterday was like any other Friday. just glad the week was over. Except I was getting out of work to go to St. Pete to see one of the greatest guitar players in the world and the lead singer and guitar player for King Crimson....thank you Adrian Belew!!

I got the Tortoise box set in the mail and we listened to it on the way there. This is the music to save my soul, no doubt).

We had dinner at Bangkok #9 (I'm eating sticky rice and mango for breakfast) and went to Daddy Kool record store. i picked up a Yo La Tengo cd and David Byrne's Rai Momo and a t-shirt of Iggy Pop from The Idiot.

We waited outside the theatre. there were two or three people around. Adrian came out and said hi to all of us and left to go have dinner. he made sure he let us know that the Grand Cherokee he was driving was not his. It was a rental. Adrian is a loveable, goofy guy.

We went across the street to a pool place and had, sigh, beers. Everyday I become more like Frasier...it's sort of embarrasing asking for wine at a pool hall when you're with a beer drinking girl.

We left, got in line at the theatre and waited to get in. It was hot and sticky as it hadn't rained the way it did on this side of the bridge.

Jerry Outlaw opened the show. Jerry leads the Frank Zappa tribute band, Bogus Pomp. He played all new songs, which, well, sounded just like Frank Zappa's instrumental stuff. he played a tribute to Belew and Krimson sound man, Ken Latchney, who passed away recently. hell, even I remember Ken from previous King Crimson shows. Jerry played a beautiful, beautiful version of Frank Zappa's "The Black Page". That is truly one of Frank's greatest pieces."

(Note from our blog author here: Oh my god, I made the dumbest mistake ever when I talked to Jerry after the show. I was all high on excitement and not thinking properly, and when he launched into Black Page as the tribute to Ken, for some unknown reason I got the song confused with "Lenny" by Stevie Ray Vaughan which is a favorite of mine...I'd seen Stevie perform with Jeff Beck a few months before he died and when he played it, he dedicated it to "all the people still hurting out there" in a veiled reference to his bout with alcoholism...Stevie was a recovering alcoholic at the time of his death. Luckily Jerry didn't call me on my error and make a fool out of me at the theater but when I proudly repeated our conversation to Eric back at the hotel after the concert, Eric was like "Oh my god, Mom, that was Black Page -- you are such a dork!" After about five minutes of hiding under the blanket with a very red face, I got over it because hey, no one is perfect and I do know my music...I was just flushed and giddy that night and very into my job as merch saleswoman at the venue)

Okay, continuing on with our fan's summary of the evening...

"In between the shows you have the guys in their 40's and 50's talking about having seen Zappa in the 70's and how many times they've seen King Crimson, what tour, the time they saw Yes with Bill Brufford, yadah yadah yadah. It's always hilarious to hear these converstaions because sometimes they get the facts wrong--"

(Note from blog author: Oh my god, did he mean me? Arghh...yep, it had to be me. Ha ha...I just saw this and now I'm sitting here all red-faced again. Ha!)

"Belew played in Roxy Music for a while, then Bowie and then Frank Zappa." Ade never played with Roxy and he played with Frank before joining David Bowie and Eno. then came the Talking Heads."

(Okay...maybe he didn't mean me. Whew! So now I only have to be embarrassed by my conversation with Jerry Outlaw, who has most likely forgotten about it already anyway)

"And then....and then....Adrian came on stage. he was playing a trio format. He was all smiles and brilliant playing, looking straight at me in the front row and I was laughing back and nodding my head that his guitar playing was phenominal. his bandmates were 19 and 20 year old brother and sister who recently graduated from the real School of Rock. The girl looked like honie bee when i first met her, long curly hair and a beautiful but with an often indifferent look on her face. But this girl was really focussing on what she was doing. She had to concentrate on those intricate bass lines played by the likes of Adrian (on his solo albums), Les Claypool and of course, Tony Levin. holy shit. Her brother was an amazing drummer. He was Adrian, John Bohnam and Bill Brufford put together. And still I'm not believing I was witnessing Adrian playing and playing so well with these kids. Man. It was amazing.

Adrian played an excellent selection spanning most of his solo career. He opened with "Writing on the Wall" and then....AND THEN....he played "Dinosaur" from King Crimson's Thrak album. Then it was "Ampersand" and so on and so on. He played some solo stuff ala Robert Fripp with guitar loops and synth lines. He even did a cover of "Within You Without You" by the Beatles. I had a feeling he would do a Beatles cover because he often does. I was curious as to what. He played an "acoustic" set including "Young Lions" (siiiggghhh) and "Lone Rhinocerous" which often makes me think of a friend. Then the kids came out again and he played an amazing "Of Bow and Drum" (How the drummer could play all that is beyond me) and then....and THEN...."Big Electric Cat" from his first album....I was good then...and suddenly Ade asks the audience, "What time is it?"

I thought he was ready to leave until he answered, "it's 80's King Crimson time!" The place just about fell apart with screams. I was so fucking excited and he went right into "Frame By Frame", going as far as aping his own parts and Robert Fripp's missing parts at the same time! Holy shit. It begs the question, does King Crimson need Robert Fripp?

Then he played "Three of a Perfect Pair" and closed with "Thela Hun Ginjeet". They left the stage and came back for and encore....of "Elephant Talk"!!!!! It was so weird watching the bass player ape Tony Levin and do it so well.....

I was blown away, honie bee was ecstatic. She seemed very happy. Music had tempered my soul. We got an autographed cd and went outside where we ran into Peter Tush. We spoke, compared notes. Rayzilla interviewed Ade. Peter introduced us to the usual cast of artists, musicians and important people in St. Pete. the rest of the night got a little weird after that, maybe even dangerous, but we got home safely..."

Cool, huh.

Okay, on with the rest of the story because I know you are all dying to know what the hell I'm talking about when I mention "Can you say peach cobbler?" in the heading here.

We made plans to all meet the next morning in the lobby of the hotel at 11:00 a.m. for the four hour drive to Lake Worth. I was starving because in all of the excitement, I never ate dinner and since I was awake all night anyway, I woke the kids early and we went out searching for food. We found this amazing deli with made-just-like Mom's eggs and homefries and got back to the hotel just in time to meet up with Adrian, who sadly did not find a good place to eat (next time stick with Julie and Eric, Adrian...they have a knack for finding good food).

Here's where I got to see the real comradery of this band and also had the world's best giggle as Julie's mother.

Let me backtrack here for a moment by saying that from the minute she could speak, Julie became the Slick Family Social Director and the rest of us her mostly willing followers. We usually don't speak up in protest to her plans because she is queen of research and scopes out wherever she wants to go in advance so with few exceptions, she's never let us down though of course it's a little rough on Eric sometimes because he's a great, easy going guy and over the years Julie has dragged him into some pretty insane scenes against his will but afterwards he usually admits that "yeah, I had a good time in spite of the fact that Julie is nuts"...but then he's quick to add "nuts in a good way".

Anyhow, as noted by our fan above, Adrian had rented a jeep for the drive and Ms. Julie rode shotgun with Eric and me in the back. Adrian had this brilliant GPS system which Adrian named "Genie" who told us in nice, gentle female tones "Turn right at .08 miles" etc. but if we blew the turn, it would immediately say "Recalulate! Recalculate!"

Julie, who is in her last year at college in their music engineering program naturally loves all things electronic and could not resist playing with Genie and pretty much took it over ("Adrian types too slow," she told me later with a grin) and discovered with glee that she not only gave directions, she also gave you things like lists of nearby restaurants, groceries, etc.

But I digress.

Apparently, one thing that Julie had moaned about was missing a taste of a real Georgia peach during their concert in Atlanta as part of the Acoustic Planet Tour. So as we traveled down the various highways from St. Petersburg to Lake Worth, she was on the look-out for farm stands which sold peaches.

We passed a few but they were on the other side of the highway and I could see she had Adrian pretty much wrapped around her beautiful finger but even he wasn't nuts enough to try to do a u-turn on a super highway just to buy the Princess a peach.

But the funniest thing happened...as we're driving, we see a stand coming up right on our left and without even saying a word, Adrian slowed down and pulled over so that Julie could have her peaches. Ha! She made me get out of the car with her and then she starts testing the various bushels..."these are too hard"..."these are too soft -- we need them just right so we can eat them now". Meanwhile, I'm dying and trying not to look at Adrian and Eric in the jeep because we're obviously taking longer than they expected...and then Julie had the farmer cut open a peach and give her a taste and after it passed her high standards, she bought a bushel.

Or I should say she had me buy them. Ha ha.

We get back into the jeep and just as I'm about to ask how the hell we're all supposed to eat a bushel of peaches in one day, she answers that question for us.

"As soon as we do soundcheck I'm going to bake a peach cobbler so that we can have a little party after our final show of this tour."

The reason she said that is because unlike other venues, the Bamboo Room in Lake Worth offers housing to its bands and we learned we would all be getting our own fully equipped one bedroom apartments complete with a full kitchen.

"That sounds great, Julie," I sad. "But you're going to need things like sugar, flour, butter, nuts...I somehow doubt the apartment is that equipped."

"Oh, that's okay, Mom," she said. "Adrian will take us to the supermarket."

At this point Eric just sat there with his head in his hands and I did my best not to laugh out loud because it then became hilariously apparent that Adrian had assumed Gary's role on this tour (Gary being Julie's dad for those of you who don't know) and pretty much what Julie wanted, Julie would get, and where Julie wanted to go, Adrian would take her.

Or, the real reason: Adrian is one hell of a nice guy. Unbelievable. Just so good natured and funny and a pleasure to be around.

But he did want to do an early sound check, and we were all starving for lunch...so that left us a very small window for supermarket shopping in a strange city where we didn't even know where a supermarket was.

"Genie will tell us where to find one," Julie replied in answer to my meek question from the back seat.

We check into the Bamboo Room around 3:30, and it's a way cool venue as you can see by the above photo. The manager led us to our apartments, and yep, full kitchen with all amenities except for ingredients required for peach cobbler.

"I want to do a 5:00 p.m. soundcheck," Adrian said. "That will leave us with about five hours before we go on so we'll have time to rest and eat..."

"And bake peach cobbler!" Julie added.

"Yes, and bake peach cobber," Adrian laughed.

We asked the manager of the Bamboo Room where the closest supermarket was because truthfully, I wanted to just walk there and not bother Adrian with this stuff but he told us it was about two miles away and it was pretty darn hot in Florida so walking was not an option. He did tell us the name of the market was "Publix" which I guess is a chain down south like Acme is here in Philadelphia. So at least Julie knew what to type into Genie if we got lost.

But first we drove a few blocks to have lunch...we found a cool place on a funky little street with vintage stores and other restaurants and stuff which normally we would have loved to have checked out further but Julie was on a mission to bake a peach cobbler. Oh, and she mentioned she was doing this to the manager of the Bamboo Room..hence why she needed to find a supermarket...and she really peaked his interest.

"Man, that's awesome. I have to admit, I've never had a rock band stay here before where one of the bandmembers baked a peach cobbler between soundcheck and the show. Are you a good cook?"

"She's amazing," Eric, Adrian and I all replied simultaneously. (Julie had previously cooked for the Belews during her stay at Casa Belew in Nashville while they were rehearsing for the tour)

So now we had the Bamboo Room's manager hot for cobbler as well.

Unfortunately, lunch took really long. We'd chosen a pretty laid back place where people did some serious drinking and I kept looking at my watch, knowing Adrian wanted to do a 5:00 p.m. soundcheck and also knowing that if Julie didn't get to a supermarket she would be in sulking princess mode and none of us wanted that to happen. Okay, make that Eric and me...hopefully Adrian has never seen a full Julie freak-out. Ha!

Anyway, we got done eating around 4:45.

"It won't take me long at the market. I know exactly what to buy. Let's just type in "groceries" on Genie...my mom and I will run in, get the stuff, and we'll be back at the club by 5:00. I promise!" Julie said.

Oh. So now I'm going into the market with her. Okay. That was probably a good idea, I thought, because I know Julie when she goes shopping and she likes to take her time looking at everything as most gourmet chefs do.

Unfortunately, however, for the first time Genie gave us some bad information. When Julie typed in "grocery" it took us through a residential neighborhood with no market in site. I looked at my watch again and groaned.

Adrian, to his credit, maintained his cool and told Julie to type in the name of the market which we already knew. I, however, thought it was "Public" and not "Publix" but did not know Julie knew this which explains the heart attack I almost had when, after driving another mile, came upon "Public Storage".

Luckily, it was almost adjacent to "Publix". Whew. Because there was just no way we could drive around looking for a supermarket any further with time rapidly slipping by and soundcheck to do! I mean, we had to get our priorities straight here. Peach cobbler sounded fantastic and all...but those guys had a sold-out show that night!

Julie and I hopped out of the car and the minute we got into the market I said to her "Run!" and it was hysterical...we were like contestants on a game show or something, racing down the aisles, grabbing butter, sugar, me having to have Julie yell at me when I grabbed an $8.00 bag of pecans...she started price comparisons while I'm freaking out about poor Adrian and Eric sitting in the car..but luckily she found a bag of walnuts at half the price and somehow we made it out of the market within minutes with everything we needed.

Though Julie would later begrudgingly admit to me later that "we should have used pecans it would have tasted even better"....

But I digress.

So we race back to the car where I just know Eric is dying a million deaths in the backseat waiting for us because he is the consummate professional musician and I'm so worried Adrian is going to be upset as well, but again, he was laughing and taking it all really well.

"This cobbler better be really good," was all he said.

We assured him it would be fantastic.

So we got back to the venue, they did soundcheck, I stayed up in my apartment doing stuff like washing peaches and letting the butter soften so that everything would be ready for Princess Julie when she returned.

Somehow I knew she would end up cooking in my apartment, not hers, because I would be left with the mess to clean up, not her. Ha ha - I know her so well, because around 6:30 in she walked all ready for business.

By 7:30 p.m., the entire apartment complex and street below was full of the incredible smell of cobbler. The manager of the Bamboo Room was salivating and threatened to break into our apartment during the show and eat it all.

I cleaned up (sigh) while Julie checked on its progress in the oven, in between doing stomach crunches and getting dressed for the show.

Anyway, we left it to cool, went over to the Bamboo Room, and they put on the world's most incredible show, completely blowing away the audience.

When Adrian announced the band, he said "My bassist Julie Slick, who is not only a fantastic musician, but she baked a peach cobbler today," which cracked everyone up. Ha. They should only know. I did merch again, but this time they put me at a table with the CDs for sale almost directly next to the stage. I felt so strange sitting there and Julie smirked as soon as they came out and she saw where I was. But I have to admit, I ended up loving it because not only did I have the best seat in the house to see the show, after the concert Adrian sat at my table and signed about 100 CDs for fans while I stood there and sold them.

Adrian was amazingly kind and patient with everyone, which was extra incredible because he had driven four hours to get to the venue, literally had nothing but a sandwich to eat all day, and it was the last night of the tour and he was going to have a few drinks with some old friends he hadn't seen in many many years.

In the meantime, I'm nervously looking around for Julie because not only was she anxious to serve her peach cobbler to Adrian and his crew, I forgot to mention she also bought a half gallon of vanilla ice cream at the market. I was hoping she didn't head back to the apartment herself and attempt to carry it all because I pictured her dropping it and getting hysterical crying after all she'd went through to bake it. I mean, after what she put us ALL through to bake it. I saw Eric signing autographs but I didn't see her and while I took care of CD sales all kinds of horrible thoughts were running through my mind but I kept my cool somehow.

Finally I caught Eric's eye as he was signing a CD for someone.

"Where's Julie?" I whispered somewhat frantically.

"She's over there, Mom," he said, pointing across the room.

"Oh, thank God. Do me a favor. Go with her across the street to the apartment and help her carry the cobbler over. We don't want any accidents."

Eric grinned, remembering other Slick family incidents where Julie has dropped things...such as the famous French Fry debacle of 2000 where she bought $12.00 worth of fries in Ocean City for us to have with her dinner...she went with Eric on bicycles to a great place on the boardwalk, put the bucket in her bike basket, and then had a collision with Eric one block before getting to our beach house and $12.00 worth of french fries fell into the street. She still hasn't let Eric forget about this, calling him a "lousy driver" for "making me collide with you!" (Poor Eric. Trust me, it had nothing to do with his driving...she rear-ended him)

We are still hearing about that event from Julie some six years later...

Anyway, Eric being the sport he is, temporarily stopped autographing and went with Julie to get the cobbler, ice cream, paper plates, etc. Since there obviously would not be enough for everyone, they left it in the green room downstairs at the venue. Julie told me to "get Adrian".

Now, as I already said, Adrian had an exhausting day, had just put on this amazing performance, signed a million CDs and posters, and just wanted to have a martini with his friends. I was put in the position of having to walk up to him, interrupt him, and say "Julie says to go downstairs and have some cobbler".

I tried, I really did. But he was having an animated conversation and there was just no way I could do it. In the meantime, Julie was downstairs waiting, and a few VIPs walked into the green room, one being Michelle Sammartino, a disc jockey at XM Satellite Radio. So she was busy schmoozing with Michelle and her pals and feeding them peach cobbler while I worked up the nerve to break into Adrian's conversation with his pals.

Still couldn't do it so I went to the bar and ordered a very potent martini.

Downed it and got the courage and told Adrian that Julie was downstairs with the cobbler but he was still having a blast with his friends. By now, the venue had finally emptied out so I decided the wisest thing to do would be to get Julie and have her bring everything upstairs.

Whew. Did it, no problem, Adrian gets his cobbler with his friends...takes one bite and exclaims "OH MY GOD! THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!" which of course caused Julie to grin from ear to ear as only she can...she's got the world's most beautiful smile.

So another disaster diverted -- Julie made just as many fans with her cooking as she does with her bass playing...she had the manager of the Bamboo Room and other assorted VIPs practically proposing marriage...and we finally left the venue well after midnight with a remaining piece or two of cobbler. Julie and I crashed out on my sofa, too excited to sleep. I asked Julie if she wanted to stay with me or go back to her own apartment and while she wanted to stay, we both agreed it would be best if she slept in her own bed and got a good night of sleep. But we were both really wired and kept talking about the tour and the events of the day, so she hung around until around 1:30 a.m. Just as she's about to leave, though, we hear Adrian and his wife Martha (who arrived in Florida while Julie was baking the cobbler so that she could see the last show of the summer tour and also have an extra day of r&r in Florida with her husband) walking down the path to their apartment, and Adrian shouts into our window "Peach cobbler! Peach cobbler!"

It was so freaking funny. But to see Julie's beaming face made the whole day's events so, so worth it...and she did bake the best damn cobbler ever.

"It would have been better with pecans and more butter and if I had our oven at home," she said.

"Nope, it was as good a cobbler as I've ever had," I assured her.

"Next time it will be better," she frowned.

Next time? Oh my god, kill me now. Ha!

Anyway, before I end this mini-series of a blogpost, here's some links for a couple more reviews of the various shows:

Review of Lake Worth show

Review of St. Petersburg show by Bogus Pomp's Jerry Outlaw

Okay. That's all for now. I just want to thank Adrian and Martha Belew for their incredible kindness and generosity and for taking a chance on Julie and Eric...engineer John Sinks for telling me all those great rock and roll behind the scenes stories which I promise I won't blab via this blog again (ha ha - private joke), roadie extaordinaire David Harvard for all of his hard work and for making Julie's day the following morning by knocking on our door and asking if there was any cobbler left so the leftovers found a very happy home in David's stomach...and well, I just wish I could join the tour again when they hit the west coast in November but hey, I've got to be fair about this and it's their dad's turn next if he can swing it...if not, I'll be doing my usual Google stalking and promo back here from my lowly desk in Philadelphia and wishing I could be part of this tour forever.