Monday, February 25, 2008

Adrian Belew Power Trio in San Francisco

So I'm still gathering various blurbs regarding the Adrian Belew Power Trio's shows over the weekend at Slim's in San Francisco on Saturday night and The Coach House in San Jua last night, but I hear the concerts are going fantastic and that the trio is really psyched for their upcoming gig tomorrow night at the Belly Up in Solana Beach (San Diego area). In the meantime, I wanted to post just one for now, and Mr. Zenberg, if you are reading this, I'm starting to connect the dots and realize you might be three different people I talk with...meaning, one man with three separate web identities? Or have I lost my mind altogether.

Anyway, here's his thoughts on Saturday night, aptly titled Rhapsody in Belew

"Gershwin Shmershwin - Rhapsody in Belew"

Slims February Twenty-third 2008

Super Tuesday found me in Boulder Creek, California. In this small mountain berg, I was driving, and made a wrong turn down a narrow alley that appeared to dead end at some housing. I realized the error of my way, and stopped so that I could back out. As I checked to make sure it was clear to proceed, I spied a familiar person walking briskly toward the fire station located across the street. The window powered down, and as we made eye contact, I said, "Hey, Jim, are you going to Belew?" Jim had no idea who I was, or what I was talking about, and replied, "Uh, I'm going to vote." gesturing to the polling station across the street. I realized that he didn't remember me, so I clarified, "Adrian Belew is playing at Slim's next month, and I was wondering if you knew about it."

"Adrian Belew?" he reiterated excitedly. "Yeah, on February twenty-third." I volunteered. "Is it sold out?" he asked. "I doubt it," I said, and continued to give him what details I knew. He said,"Thanks! I'll see ya there."** and quickly jaunted across Highway 9 to vote. I hollered, "Vote for Ron Paul" but I don't think he heard me.

Few people have influenced music more than Adrian Belew. Gershwin*** himself couldn't claim the monumental impact of this master of sound. Adrian Belew's list of accomplishments and collaborations would take a blog of its own to describe. Although Adrian Belew is virtually unknown to the masses, his name and influence is well known in the music industry.

The Power Trio Shows

I've seen Adrian Belew perform live a few hands full of times with various bands over the past couple of decades, and every time I walked away with my jaw dragging behind me.

A couple of years ago, my son and I drove to the "big city" to see Belew play at Slim's in San Francisco. That particular version of the Power Trio featured Ade's friends Mike and Mike, on drums and bass, respectively. We were surprised to find that Slim's was a tiny venue. Maybe I expected more grandiose ambiance for such a renowned performer... a musician who is no stranger to large coliseums. The show was great, and everyone had a really good time, and although the performance was no doubt better than anything else in town that week, or month... I somehow felt that Belew deserved more power than what the Mikes were willing or capable of contributing. Then came the Slicks.

Three of a Perfect Pair

A brother and sister duo, Eric and Julie Slick are the best thing to happen to Belew since the war. With these two solid young performers, Belew has everything he needs to pull off the best show you've ever seen, or heard. I saw them perform two nights in a row in November of 2006. At Montalvo in Saratoga, the California Guitar Trio opened and played a sparkling set. Adrian joined them on stage for their last tune, then CGT left the stage, and soon all three members of the latest and greatest incarnation of the Power Trio took the stage, prepared to blow the roof off the ritzy theater. Unfortunately, a dozen people or so stood up and walked out the moment the first song came to an end. Adrian looked stunned. How painful it was to watch as the ignoramuses mooing and bumping their way away from the loud rock music, and retreating to the safety of their multi-million dollar homes in the hills above Saratoga. "Good riddance," I said as I moved to a better location in the small theater. The show was great, but I suspect that the mass exodus may have affected the performers more than they made apparent.

On the following night, my friend Aaron, joined Mighty Mo and myself as we peddled our bicycles to the Catalyst in Santa Cruz to again see this powerful music trio. It was Aaron's first time to see Belew, and he said it was one of the best shows he had been to. Even though the trio played basically the same set as they had the previous night, it seemed like two completely different shows. No one walked out in Santa Cruz.

Return of a Crimson King

Last night the Adrian Belew Power Trio made their appearance at Slims... their fourth stop on their 2008 tour. Once again I was impressed at the quality of showmanship on the stage. The small venue was packed with barely enough room to walk around. Apparently news of these remarkable musicians has gotten out. The sound was crisp and clear, and thanks to my trusty ear-plugs, it wasn't too loud either. The three performed their set flawlessly, and presented the crowd with a fine selection of songs. Krimson fans were rewarded with a goodly number of King Crimson songs, such as Dinosaur, Frame by Frame, Three of a Perfect Pair, Thela Hun Ginjeet, and Elephant Talk. I was amazed to watch the Slicks play these complex pieces so proficiently. In my mind's eye, I could see Robert Fripp smiling."

* I met Jim at an Adrian show Belew at Slim's back in 2005.

** I did.

*** Gershwin shmershwin!
Rhapsody in Belew!
He doesn't hold a camel to you

Then, through Ade's way cool Yahoo Group, The Tribe, the emails are starting to fly:

..."WHAT A SHOW! Maybe if I'd picked up Side 4 before last night I wouldn't have been as surprised. It really struck me as a Crimson show...Eric Slick really blew me away, and I'm crushing all over the bass player..."


Ooh, and look what's on Parker Guitar's MySpace site. Cool!

Anyway, that's it for now, but I will definitely be back...