Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More from the Adrian Belew Power Trio Tour, Zappanale 18 Redux, and assorted other oddities and soddities

Adrian Belew in Atlanta, August 22, 2007 (Awesome photograph courtesy of Rick Glover)

Yep, I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record but here is yet another glowing review coming out of last week's Adrian Belew Power Trio tour:

"Meeting your heroes is awesome...

Last Thursday, August 22nd, my wife and I bought some last minute tickets and headed down to Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta to see Adrian Belew perform live with "The Adrian Belew Power Trio". It was a most amazing experience. Now I'm a pretty big time concert-goer. And these days it takes a pretty revolutionary perfromance to get up into my top 10-20 shows I've been to. It's a club that grows more and more exclusive as the years pass. But I've got to say that Mr.Belew and his amazingly talented rhythm section of Eric Slick (drums / 20 years old) and Julie Slick (bass / 21 years old), provided just such a performance. It was about 100 minutes of music that went by in what seemed like 30. Getting back to the youngsters that backed the man up. There are no words that can describe the level that these folks play at, I wish I could tell you - but you just have to see them in order to understand. It was truly humbling.

Now for those for you unfamiliar with Adrian - he was one of the driving forces behind every incarnation of the legendary prog-rock godfathers "King Crimson" since the early 80's landmark album "Discipline". In addition to being a long time Crim' he is also famous for his work with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, The Talking Heads, Nine Inch Nails, Tori Amos, and a million other people. Not to mention a vast solo catalog that lately has seen Les Claypool and Danny Carey, among others coming around to collaborate with the esteemed Adrian Belew.

If you ever get a chance to witness this man perform in person, do not pass it up.

I was fortunate enough to stick around afterwards and meet all three members of the band. They were extremely gracious and took the time to chat for a few minutes and sign a poster that i grabbed off the wall at the venue. Last but not least... I asked Mr. Adrian Belew if he would pose for a photo with me =)"

From, believe it or not, Wrestling

"Awesome is the only way I can describe Adrian Belew’s Power Trio show last night in West Palm Beach. Being a long time Belew fan and seeing him play with Bowie, Zappa, King Crimson and Talking Heads, I had greatly anticipated seeing this concert. My high expectations were exceeded! Now that usually never occurs so it was a most pleasant surprise. Let me start by saying I couldn’t believe his rhythm section of bassist Julie Slick and her brother, drummer Eric Slick. The kicker is she’s 21 and he’s 20! I kid you not when I say Stu Hamm and Bill Bruford have nothing over them. Turns out they are from Philadelphia and studied at the Paul Green School of Rock Music...

They performed songs from Adrian’s solo career along with about four King Crimson songs. The ones I recall are Matchless Man, Young Lions, Big Electric Cat, Writing On The Wall, Dinosaur, Ampersand and from King Crimson: Elephant Talk, Frame By Frame, Thela Hun Ginjeet and Three Of A Perfect Pair."

From Julie Slick's MySpace page:

"thank you for the add. excellent bassism. adrian couldn't have asked for better. you give levin a run for the money. love to hear you on stick sometime if you play, or decide to pick it up. thnx again. great show thurs in jax."

"Hi Julie,

I have been telling EVERYONE about the amazing show you put on in West Palm Beach. I've been a fan of Adrian's since, well, LONG before you were born :^), but I'm now as much a fan of YOURS! In addition to being an astonishing talent, you're quite simply wonderfully sweet. (At least you were to ME!)"



-the incredible Julie Slick ladies and gentlemen...

-thanx for the add girl... your an amazing talent."

From Eric Slick's MySpace page:

"just wanted to stop by and thank you once again for providing me with a life changing experience. Meeting you a Adrian was truly the highlight of my life. Thank you for being such a wonderful person. You have my undying gratitude. Keep up the amazing work. I cant wait for side 4.
Your life long fan

"Hi Eric,
I'm in the city, what's uuuuuuuuuuuuuuup?

Ha ha - that message would be from Dr. Dot, and that is the perfect segue for the following two short films, starring, yep, you guessed it, Dr. Dot in her wet t-shirt as Mary in the Frank Zappa masterpiece, Joe's Garage, featuring Eric Slick on drums and errr...Eric Slick sipping beer from what Dot slyly tells us is a urinal. Yes, I'm afraid it's true, let's just hope it was never used prior to your drink. But oh man, you men out there reading this blog are going to love me - one of these films, not sure if it's part one or part two (heh...yes I do know, but I'm not telling -- which will force you to watch both) Dot actually being doused with the water in her white tank top and if I don't win best blog of 2007 for this...well, there's something wrong with the world.

Oh, I'm kidding, I'm kidding.

Or am I?

Yes, yes, I know. My son is one lucky man.

Speaking of Eric, I would remiss if I did not remind you that he's got a Crescent Moon show coming up this Friday night, August 31, 2007 with the always awesome Dave Dreiwitz of Ween...the gig is at Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park, New Jersey. Also on the bill is Sounds of Greg D (with whom Eric will be touring at the end of September)...and performing with Greg will be the fabulous Scott Metzger on guitar and Joey Russo of Benevento Russo fame on, what a night of music.

Here's a couple of blurbs off the Ween forum board (link above):

"C'mon down to beautiful Asbury Park this holiday weekend ... its crescent moon (starring Dave Dreiwitz w/ eric slick on drums), sounds of greg d and american babies (w/ metzger and russo) at the asbury lanes this friday august 31."

"I should be there. Meat Puppets Wednesday and Thursday and Crescent Moon Friday! Their show at the Court last week was great. Slick mans the skins like a legend."

"Slick mans the skins like a legend --I love watching that kid (and I use the term lightly) play his ass off. He's unreal."

Crescent Moon got a nice mention on the Harmony Central forum board. The topic is "2 Piece Bands - Anyone Dig'Em?" and people started giving examples of great bands. Right on page 1 someone jumped in and said:

"Crescent Moon

Dave Dreiwitz of Ween on bass and Eric Slick on drums. Shit is great. They did the coolest version of Pink Floyd's "Fearless" that I've ever heard.

Oh yeah, and the Project Object tour with Eric on drums begins October 12, I believe...and here's the first cool press release regarding their show on October 22, 2007 at Shank Hall in Wisconsin:

"Napoleon Murphy Brock, lead vocalist and instrumentalist with Frank Zappa for more than a decade, will tour once again with Project/Object, the mothers of reinvention.

Napoleon Murphy Brock is a singer, saxophonist and flautist who is best known for his work with Frank Zappa in the 1970s and 80s, including the albums One Size Fits All, Roxy and Elsewhere, and Bongo Fury. His own most memorable vocal accomplishments are illustrated on Village of the Sun, Inca Roads and Florentine Pogen. His numerous performances include the role of the "Evil Prince" on Zappa's Thing-Fish album. He has also performed with George Duke, Captain Beefheart and others.

As the lead singer and sax player with Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa last year, Napoleon Murphy Brock toured all over the World and received foremost praise from fans and critics alike.

The lineup is rounded out by Project/Object founder Andre Cholmondeley (nee Chumley) on guitar and vocals; wunderkind Eric Slick on drums who is also Adrian Belew’s touring drummer; Dave Johnsen, who also performs with the Mahavishnu Project, on bass; and incredible keyboardist Eric Svalgard."

So that's the music news for today.

Well, not really. As promised, a couple of stories about my weekend as groupie mom for the Adrian Belew tour down in Florida.

First I must talk about my flight down. We'll get to the flight home - now known as the freaking worst experience on an airplane in my life -- later.

But for now, let me begin by telling you about my brush with insanity when I got to Philadelphia International Airport.

I got dropped off three hours before my flight. Now before you have me committed, there was a reason for that. Between Hurricane Dean earlier in the week and the fact that all airports in Chicago were closed the day before due to high winds and blackouts, I knew that thousands of flights were canceled. So between that and the fact that it was a Saturday morning in the summer on one of the busiest vacation weeks, I rightly guessed that our illustrious airport, voted like worst in the country, would be a mob scene.

I guessed correctly.

I looked at the departure board for my flight, got the gate number, and then waited in the line from hell to get through security. One hour later, I made it. Okay. So I now had two hours before take-off. No problem. I had a great book, my iPod, and a brand new Philadelphia Magazine. But when I went to sit down and make myself comfortable (in the waiting area for another airline because mine was so mobbed with people taking an earlier flight), I saw the departure board start scrambling and blinking.

"Oh crap," I thought, getting up to check. "Watch. I'm here three hours early and my flight is getting canceled."

Well, it was way worse than that. They changed terminals on me! I was stunned. I'd already passed through security for Terminal it's saying I needed to be in Terminal E? Could I have read it wrong? No. That was impossible. I checked and double checked. Flustered and completely freaked out, I ran up to the security desk at Terminal D.

"I just passed through here and now the departure board is telling me I'm in a different gate..."

"Happens," the security guard shrugged.

"What do you mean?"

"The pilot probably parked in the wrong spot."

Huh? Was he serious? And what did that mean to me?

"Oh god. So what do I do?"

"You have to leave here, walk to Terminal E, and go through security again."

"You are kidding me."


Wow. I never heard of anything like that happening, ever, and I've flown a million times. Completely rattled, I headed for Terminal E, where a three mile line stretched full of hassled travelers.

Oh well. I had two hours to kill.

The line moved quickly considering, so there I went again, removing my shoes, my belt, my little ziplock bag full of 2 ounces of various liquids, etc.

Whew. Made it through with an hour to go.

I looked around for my new gate so I could sit down and get comfortable and decompress, and this you won't believe. I looked at the departure board and it said "Terminal D".

I blinked, not believing what I saw. I just kind of stood there in a daze. So this is what I get for arriving at the airport three hours early.

Exited Terminal E, got back in line at Terminal D, and went through security yet a third time.

I now had twenty minutes until take-off.

Didn't get to read my book, didn't get to shop for anything to munch on...I was a sweating, hyperventilating mess.

But at least I was finally in the right spot and I guess it could have been worse - what if I had been pulled out of line during one of my three security pass-throughs? Strip searched, suspected of being a terrorist, or something like that...I almost expected it to happen after standing in my third line of the morning. The security guard recognized me and actually laughed.

Har har.

I boarded the plane, almost wanting to ask anyone and everyone "This plane is going to Florida, right?"

But the fun was hardly over.

I sat down, and my trip started out with the pilot introducing the head stewardess as "Holly from American Idol."

Oh, I wish I were kidding, but I am not. Because you know what they do on that show...

Holly starts out by picking up the mic and running through the safety drill - yeah, like if our plane is crashing, a floatable vest is really going to save us...and who pays attention to that stuff anyway...but she pulls a great one.

"Parents, if you are traveling with a young child, put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then quickly take care of your child. Unless you have two children. Then you should pick the one with the most potential."

Ha ha, Holly, good one. By the way, she was really pretty, in that real American Idol Cheerleader kind of way.

But it's a good thing I didn't have a gun because as we started to take off, she picked up that mic and belted out her own special version of CCR's Proud Mary.

Only she sang "Rolling! Rolling! Rolling down the runway!"

And she sang the whole damn song.

It was like being forced to sit through a high school production of Annie.

I ordered a Bloody Mary. So did the guy next to me. We struck up a conversation and it turned out that he's "in management" with the Department of Defense, overseeing which weapons go to Iraq...but that day he was heading down to Florida for a baby shower with his family. I kid you not. I thought I was going to have to freaking bite my liberal tongue in half but it turned out he was a way cool guy and I had a lot of fun talking with him...not to mention I picked his brain about everything from the war to our illustrious President to how crappy ice hockey is now that the sport has changed and how much we preferred it when no one wore helmets and bloody fights broke out.

Ha ha - Robin the liberal who hates war likes old fashioned ice hockey. I know. I can't explain it either. Well yeah, I can. No one gets killed and everyone has a lot of fun letting off steam.

But I digress.

So it was like the world's quickest flight, between the interesting conversation and the fact that the weather cooperated - I think we got there 45 minutes early. And for once, I found the hotel shuttle easily in the airport, which, if you've ever been to West Palm Beach, is like the size of a small supermarket if even that, with Spanish architecture, a Cinnabon type place, an Irish Pub, and one gift shop.

I arrived at the hotel before the band...but I called Eric and good news, they were only like twenty minutes away. I asked the hotel clerk if they had a computer I could use to print out our boarding passes home for the next day -- they did -- so I kept myself busy doing that and checking my email, etc., then my family and the Belews walked in and I was never so relieved to see anyone. We said our hellos and hugged, dropped our bags off in our rooms, and headed straight to the venue, which was a way cool old fashioned movie theater in West Palm Beach -- excellent acoustics though we've all pretty much decided that we prefer when the band plays in "standing" venues because they really rock out and having to stay in assigned seats is kind of restricting.

They ran through sound check and since we had around three hours before showtime, we decided to go out to dinner. I was leafing through a West Palm Beach magazine while the band was rehearsing and saw a little ad for what looked like a most excellent seafood restaurant nearby. Oh my god, did I pick a winner. Julie, Martha and I had amazing fresh seafood salads and conch chowder, Eric the ultimate vegetarian had a salad and gazpacho...Ade had what he said were probably the best crab cakes he'd ever eaten...and well...we just had the most incredible, relaxed time pre-show and Adrian said that dinner out with people he loves is one of his favorite things in life.

Do I freaking believe that this is what Adrian Belew said to my family...this legend...this incredible human being?

I had to fight back tears, I really did.

We ordered dessert to go (coconut cream pie for Ade, Martha, Julie and me...some insane peanut butter chocolate confection for Eric), and headed back to the venue.

Can I tell you that it was a sold out crowd of some of the best fans I've ever met? When the band took the stage, they gave them a standing ovation. After the first song, another standing ovation. Screaming, clapping...and this continued throughout the evening. Every song, people jumped to their feet. And while I usually sit right in the front row, this time I found a lone seat (thank God) right in the middle, third row back, and I was able to watch the faces of people all around me. Their jaws were somewhere around their feet. I witnessed them gaping at Adrian, then being astounded by Julie...looking over at Eric and shaking their heads in freaking awe.

"Look at the size of the kit he's playing! How the hell is he getting that sound?"

Eric does not like playing a huge you can see from the various photos I've posted, he likes a basic set-up which he somehow makes sound like six drummers playing at once.

"This is the best fucking band I've ever seen," was basically what I heard coming from every single person sitting near me...and I heard some extremely flattering and to me surreal comparisons which modesty and not wanting to embarrass the trio prevents me from posting today but you can only imagine considering the people with whom Adrian has played.

The cry for an encore was deafening, and the band happily obliged, with their trademark grins plastered all over their beautiful faces.

As you can tell by the photo I posted the other day, post-show Ade, Julie and Eric come out and sign autographs and talk with fans until the last person leaves. We hung around for well over an hour, then mutually agreed we did not want to evening to end so we went out to another restaurant. As soon as we walked in, Adrian was recognized by a thrilled fan who looked up startled and gasped "Hi, Adrian!" and then ran to his car and returned with an old LP which he got Adrian to sign...I think Ade made the man's life that evening.

We chatted non-stop until like 1:30 a.m. and at some point I did actually start to cry though I don't know if anyone noticed...I didn't out and out sob but my eyes filled up several times as Adrian and Martha talked about how much they adored Julie and Eric and we discussed plans for the future...after which we wearily returned to our hotel but I was so fired up from our conversation I could hardly sleep.

The next morning we met for breakfast in the hotel before our flight home and talked some more about additional touring possibilities, Side Four Live, and just life in general. Adrian and Martha are two of the most interesting and intelligent people on the planet. I don't feel this way about many human fact, I can count on one hand how many folks I've felt that way about in my lifetime....but I could literally talk with them for hours and never be bored or restless. Our two families are like soul mates.

After we finished eating we hugged, said our goodbyes, and I got really depressed that I'm not able to join them again on tour next week in Mexico and Seattle but I've got other obligations and Gary and I leave for our own two week vacation shortly so it just wasn't possible, damn it. But next time for sure...

So it was pretty much of a bummer to arrive at the West Palm Beach airport and experience the ride from hell on the way home. Two and a half hours of turbulence and a crying baby. What is wrong with people? Good lord, when I traveled with Julie and Eric as young children -- and don't forget, they are fifteen months apart so it was like traveling with twins -- never once did I subject strangers in public places to a screaming child. Why? Because I have common sense, that's why. Who the hell travels with children without bringing plenty of toys, books,, I used to even travel with two hand puppets -- Bert and Ernie -- put one on each hand and carry on conversations and write little plays on the spot -- anything to keep them occupied and on their best behavior while having a great time myself. It isn't rocket science...and if they did cry for any reason, I would immediately pick them up and comfort them. These two idiot parents on the plane ignored their child -- the mother had an iPod on for god sakes, which, if this had been pre-9/11, I would have ripped off her head and given her the lecture from hell.

Though with my luck, I would have been arrested so I refrained, but between that and the turbulence, I actually pulled out my barf bag...and at one point made my way to the bathroom (but not before giving those parents the glare from hell on my way there)...and just pressed my head against the cool metal wall and splashed water on my face to keep from being sick. I was seconds away from a major panic attack which is definitely something you do not want to have on a plane, but I was seriously never so claustrophobic in my life.

Naturally, because of the bad weather and fog, our plane went into a holding pattern and we had to endure the trip a half hour longer than our expected arrival time.

I actually had a "hangover" the next day...I was still shaking over twenty-four hours later.

But luckily these things pass, and I swear, next time I fly I am going to be the one carrying toys and snacks for any poor kid with a neglectful parent!

Okay, that's a wrap for now...I'm taking off for a few days and in case anyone is wondering about my writing life...stay tuned for what I hope may be some amazing news next week. Or not. Fingers crossed.

I will try and fit in another blog post or two before the Labor Day holiday if I am able but I'm taking a little writing vacation to complete an anthology I'm editing, speaking of writing, and do not know if I will get back here or not. If that's the case, have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone...I cannot believe how this summer flew by...but when I think of where Julie and Eric have been since June - up and down the east coast, the south, Quebec, Mexico and Seattle...holy freaking cow....maybe it didn't go that quickly after all.