Thursday, July 17, 2008

On Tour with the Adrian Belew Power Trio - Part III

Actually, I'm pressed for time this morning so I'm not sure this post will cover my remaining three days on the tour or not but we'll see. In the meantime, have I mentioned how much I love the internet?

Ha ha - I did not know the above photo existed until I went Google snooping last night. I think it was taken around three years ago, before Julie and Eric were in the Adrian Belew Power Trio, when they got all costumed up to do a gig with Sweatheart - another band Julie also produces/records.

By the way, if you click on the link to Adrian's website and then click on "Belew sightings", you'll see a familiar face.

There was an awesome review of the trio in the Ottawa Express:

"The Adrian Belew Power Trio
River Stage
Saturday July 5, 7:15 p.m.

Perhaps former King Crimson member Adrian Belew found the Golden Fleece and wove a guitar from it, or maybe his golden axe was simply made from killer bee ass. When the Adrian Belew Power Trio, landed their spaceship at Bluesfest on Saturday evening there were no shortage of followers. Along with Julie Slick (the sexiest person ever to touch a bass) and Eric Slick (prodigy boy) who form his rhythm section, or should I say rhythm suction (as in my brain out of my ears), they bequeathed escalades of beauteous vibration unto the masses gathered around the River Stage, as the sun set on rippling waters. With so many large progressions and falls and rolling guitar licks, it was as if they were climbing a mountain one chord at a time taking the listener from point A to point B. Passing through various ages of musical expression - from the tribal gallop on up to the intellectual metallic, also touching rock'n'roll, and even a song which sounded almost folk-heavy - they proceeded to conquer those without hope. I was told that the Adrian Belew Power Trio was experimental music, but I seem to have missed the hypothesis: this is exactly what music should be."

Love the last line: "This is exactly what music should be."

Yep, they got that right.

Here's another You Tube from that night - a stellar performance of "Dinosaur":

I also received several emails about the recent shows (and oh God, I apologize to everyone who has emailed me recently -- when I came back from the tour, between my AOL, G-mail, and Yahoo accounts, I had over 1,000 pieces of mail and there's just no way I can respond to all of them, but I thank you for your kind words and maybe at some point I will get a chance to weed through everything and write back)...but here are a few excerpts:

"I have just read your trip to Quebec City on your blog. I have seen both performance from the trio in Quebec and fell in love with Eric and Julie. I still think about it and watch videos from Youtube. I just want to wish you all the best and please have Julie and Eric come back to Quebec soon!"

"I was a fortunate attendant at the show Sunday night.

First off, the Slick kids were (as always) freakin' AMAZING!! Julie had the pounding Fender bass (note from our author: It's a Lakland, not a Fender) front-and-center, except the very beginning of the show. Apparently, after the first tune, she was aware of the fact that she was missing a component "stomp-box" gizmo that (as described by Adrian) is the difference between an instrument" speaking" and an instrument "SINGING!!!"

To the rescue: Andre Chomonoly (I hope I've spelled that correctly; Andre is a VERY proficient guitarist in the Zappa tribute band Project/Object)(Note from our author: It's "Cholmondeley") . He had Julie hooked up and ready to crush in no time. Once that problem was resolved, it was smooth sailing for the best part of the show.

A couple of new tunes were performed, including a very Crimson-esque tune called "E". Julie stretched her bass muscles and Eric was stellar. One song featured Eric's intro on drums that turned into one of the strongest drum solos I've ever seen in my lifetime of shows. That kid is a joy to watch.

As described by Adrian in previous posts, there are NO discernable distractions with this sister/brother package. They come out, they play, they level the landscape with their talent, they FORCE you to watch them without being grandiose in their delivery, and finally, they bring you to the realization that Stevie Belew from Covington KY has been blessed with the discovery of two of the finest new musicians on the planet.

...I got to see a great performance by the Slicks and Adrian, and it doesn't get much better than that. Tonight was their last show in America on this tour. They go abroad later in the year...I imagined myself having the opportunity to ask either Eric or Julie what they wanted to do when "they grow up". I imagined the answer to be "what I'm doing right now". Unfortunately, I didn't hang at SGH long enough to ask that question, but I feel pretty certain in my assumption of an answer.

...If you're lucky enough to see them live, just watch Julie and Eric as they watch each other and queue each other. It really is refreshing! Adrian is one lucky mofo!"


So that's very cool and I thank those fans very much for writing.

Okay, maybe I do have time to talk about more of the tour. So on Wednesday morning, July 9, we regrettably had to say goodbye to Quebec City because it was a seven hour drive to Boston, where the trio would be performing the following evening. I was almost in tears because the rest of the entourage (Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, and the California Guitar Trio) were staying until Sunday because they had another performance at the festival on Saturday night. I was so jealous! But I'd never been to Boston before and was really looking forward to that, although not the long car ride, which was made way worse by a monsoon which followed us from Quebec all the way to Boston. I'm not kidding; I've never seen rain like that in my life and there were many cars pulled over on the side of the highway, waiting it out, but Adrian is a trooper and he kept on going. I tried not to hyperventilate in the back seat and didn't say a word but I was scared witless. I reminded myself that I do not even have a driver's license nor do I know how to drive and that Ade is a pro and that I need to stop being such a wus...and it worked, because we made it to Boston fine, though more like in nine hours than seven but that was also because it is very easy to get lost in Boston and we had to drop Matt off at the train. He had to leave the tour early for work the next day, poor baby, so by the time we reached our hotel it was 7:00 p.m. and we were famished. Usually Julie has time to scope out a city prior to arrival and pick out the best restaurants but between being exhausted and our new knowledge that Boston was not only confusing, parking was pretty much impossible, we opted for a seafood restaurant we knew Adrian loved and which was fairly close to our hotel.

Ade has good taste - the place rocked! I had almond crusted salmon served over mushroom ravioli; Julie had halibut with white beans in a citrus sauce; Ade had fried fish with mashed potatoes and onion strings (mmmm...onion strings), and Eric had a really sick vegetarian stir-fry. We split a bottle of wine and then, after learning the restaurant did not have Limoncello, decided to weave across the courtyard to an Italian restaurant we noticed...and sure enough they had it there and what a gorgeous place - part of the St. Charles Hotel, I think, the bar had a granite top and custom lighting and modern glass vases filled with lemons and oranges...really, really nice. So we were feeling no pain, and then, sitting next to me, a rabid fan recognized Ade and proceeded to talk about his entire career. It was way cool.

Then it got really funny. Ade parked in an indoor parking lot and couldn't remember where he parked. We walked around in a stupor but luckily he kept aiming his key at various cars and finally we heard a faint beeping in the distance...hooray! But when he reached for "Genie", his GPS system, which would safely lead us back to the hotel, he gasped "Eww! What's all over my hand!"

Erm...both his hand and Genie were covered in sticky brown stuff that looked can imagine. But he quickly realized it was chocolate - Eric had left a candy bar in "Genie's house", a/k/a the glove compartment, and it melted. We collapsed into hysterics...I guess you had to be there, but it was really, really funny. We were so overtired and naturally we did the only thing you can do in these circumstances...we stopped and bought more alcohol to have back in our hotel room. I should also add that after being in a five star hotel in Quebec City, it was a bit of a come down to see our accommodations in Boston...well, we were actually a bit outside of Boston in the middle of alcohol was a bit of a necessity.

I was already too wiped out, though, so in typical wus style, went to bed but the others partied merrily on.

The following day Julie and I explored Boston and walked from our hotel to Harvard's campus...very pretty, but we didn't find any cool shops, just the usual chains. I mean, seriously. How many Staples and Dunkin' Donuts does this world need? We did visit the Harvard Bookstore and I was thrilled to see books written by many of my friends displayed prominently...wish I'd had my camera with me. I bought a book by my latest discovery, Jane Smiley. I'm really late to the party on this one - Jane has won a Pulitzer Prize, a PEN Award...she rocked my world. I cannot recommend her 2007 book "Ten Days in the Hills"'s got everything you could possibly want...anti-Bush, sex, dialogue so intelligent I just kept re-reading passages...just fantastic stuff. I found a book she'd written in 1984 called "Duplicate Keys" in the used section and bought that, too and read it in one day...I could not put it down.

We also strolled around the Charles River...very beautiful...but the sun was hot and Julie had a show that night and needed to get some rest before soundcheck so we headed back to our hotel. I called my friend, brilliant writer Jessica Keener, a Boston resident I was dying to hook up with and arranged for Jess and her husband to come to the show that night. We met for dinner beforehand at this incredible Italian restaurant - I think it's called "Carlos", where I had a roasted eggplant casserole with fresh tomato sauce and ricotta was to die for. Jess and I walked around the area a bit toward her house and it was really beautiful...made me wish I'd taken her up on her offer to crash at her place as opposed to our hotel but oh well, there's always next time!

We had a blast a the show that night - Harpers Ferry is a sweet venue though I have to admit, after playing in front of 60,000 people Tuesday night, it was another come down to play in front of a crowd of 100 but yes, it's summer, it's a college town, and between that, vacations, and the economy, it was still a nice sized audience and the trio put on another great performance.

I think that covers it for now...I need to devote another post to New York and I've got places to go, people to see today, so...