Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Adrian Belew Power Trio hangs out with Garrett

A very blurry Adrian Belew with my nephew, Garrett, last night at BB Kings and oh how I wish the lighting was better and I had a clearer photo...

So I have lots to talk about, many reviews to post, many people to thank for sending me photos (I did not have my camera for the shows Eric played with Mike Keneally and Crescent Moon at the SOR Fest this past weekend and I can't believe how many fans were kind enough to email me pics)...but last night my brother and his soon to be nine year old son, Garrett, drove from West Hartford, Connecticut to BB Kings in New York City to see the Adrian Belew Power Trio for the very first time featuring Garrett's first cousins, Julie and Eric Slick. In fact, I didn't realize it, but it was also Garrett's first time in New York City!

Quick background: My mom died when my significantly younger brother David was still a kid; Gary and I were his legal guardians (while we were still pretty much kids ourselves) until he went off to college...and now David has two kids of his own, one of whom is the fabulous Garrett featured above...and guess what...at age 8 he's already a brilliant guitar player. Think it's genetic? Ha! I do...just wish that gene hadn't skipped me!

"Who is your favorite guitar player, Garrett?" we asked him last night.

"Adrian Belew," he answered immediately, and then proceeded to reel off the names of all the songs he loved by Adrian and King Crimson. He went backstage to meet Adrian...and of course as you can imagine, Adrian being Adrian was his usual incredibly cool and kind self. Garrett left the show last night with a signed album, t-shirt, and well...here's what my brother had to say in an email to me today...hope you don't mind I'm doing this, Dave, but I burst into tears when I read your letter this morning and I really want to share it with the world. I just wish I had a better photo of Ade and your boy (I'm gonna kidnap that kid for a couple of weeks this summer...better watch out because I might not give him back! What a brilliant, wonderful young man...we are so smitten with him it's ridiculous) but you know, there will be many more shows to come and if you are going to be in Florida visiting your in-laws this August...it might be sooner rather than later (sly hint to those of you Belew fans in Florida).

Anyway, here's what my brother said in his email:

"I didn’t tell Garrett he would see Eric or Julie. I said I doubted he would see Adrian, but I also said you never know. Then on our trip down I started telling him we might see Aunt Robin and Uncle Gary. I said you can’t tell what that Aunt Robin might be up to, but they were both excited to see you. Garrett said” Do you think she will tell Eric and Julie I am coming”? I told him to think about the relationship with Eric and Julie Aunt Robin has. So he goes “you mean she is their mommy and she’ll probably tell them”. I turned the music up and smiled at him.

So here is Garrett driving into NYC. He looks around at the people, the traffic, the buildings, and the boldness of it all. To say he was overwhelmed is an understatement. We had an appetizer and went to find Eric and Julie. They came over, introduced him to Adrian (he signed the cd covers), and they let him come backstage. At this point, he was just so happy I couldn’t have been more ecstatic.

When he realized we were moving from our table, and sitting with you, he was starting to hit shock factor. The way your kids, Gary, you, and Adrian treated him made this the best night of his life. He was telling Staci (eta: Dave's wife) about the faces Adrian and Eric when they make when they play but Julie doesn’t-she plays awesome. He knew all the songs, and was really blown away by everyone’s performance. I was too.

I have seen Adrian perform with David Bowie, and King Crimson twice. I only went to see Bowie because Adrian was playing. The best performance until last night was King Crimson back in 1982 at the Tower Theatre. The energy Eric had on drums was unbelievable. His power and finesse just gave the music a whole new energy. I loved seeing Bill Buford with Adrian, but as good as Buford is, Eric is a different kind of drummer. His passion brings something out in Adrian’s music that makes him sound “50 years younger”. (eta: Adrian made that comment laughingly on stage last night) I can’t think of a drummer I have heard who is that original, powerful, and free who takes drumming to a limit some others have been said to have achieved, but were either not technically as good or were restrained by their own technical prowess. You know the list I mean.

I also loved seeing Tony Levin with Adrian and Peter Gabriel as he is an amazing stick player. Julie is one of these understated bass players that are so good, she gets into your soul. She compliments the musicians on stage, and has a natural connection to Eric that is much different than seeing Eric play with another bassist... Her style is about tone and soulfulness. When you add that to Adrian/Eric, you have magic. She is gorgeous in both beauty and personality, and it is so refreshing to see her music do the talking versus seeing another woman who is all belly buttons and no talent. She is a real musician who doesn’t need to rely on anything but her musical gift. Without realizing it, she is new role model for young women who want to play music.

So the amazing thing about seeing your kids play with Adrian last night was seeing the music of Adrian Belew taken to another level. There is a freedom he has with this band that has re-energized his music. It is as if Adrian Belew has finally reached the zenith of his capabilities as a solo artist, and he should never look back. His songs were always my favorites from King Crimson, and in this power trio format, he has achieved something as magical as the first day Cream took the stage, or Hendrix played Monterey.

I was blown away, Garrett was in rock and roll heaven, and it was one of the most special nights I could have hoped for.



Oh god, here come the tears again. Okay, I will be back tomorrow with all of your wonderful photos, reviews, and a few cool stories of my own.