Sunday, August 31, 2008

In The Court of the Crimson Queen: Part II

Ha ha - I'm so enamored with the title of my last post I had to use it again, even if it doesn't quite make as much sense here...or maybe it does...

That would be Julie Slick, Andre Cholmondeley, and Keith Emerson.

And here's Julie at the after-party jam with Pat Mastelotto on drums, (I can't identify the other musicians but I'm sure someone will tell me) where, as Tony Levin says in his diary: "Quite a festival yesterday here in Tatarstan. (And quite a party afterwards! A hundred musicians in a large club with a stage to jam on and free-flowing vodka...") (Which probably explains why I did not hear further from Julie and Eric yesterday after that wonderful Skyped listen to the Crimfest on stage)

And here's Julie once again, apparently auditioning for a role as mannequin in a Russian mall:

By the way, Tony added some amazing photos of the festival to his site while I was asleep last night - he estimates there were well over 100,000 people in the audience. How freaking cool is that? Here's the link to Tony's can really see the magnitude of the's mind blowing!

Here are a few shots of the Adrian Belew Power trio just prior to taking the stage and in the second one, yes, Eric is pretending to be on his ever-present cell phone:

And as usual, Julie and Eric unwinding pre-show - Eric warming up on his drum pad and Julie probably getting ready to listen to a recording of one of their prior shows...or...instant messaging with her boyfriend:

The following captions are from my emails with Andre. Ha ha...just reminded me of the film "My Dinner with Andre". I'm thinking I'll have to write a new memoir called "My emails with Andre" because let me tell you, over the past several years they have been classic and well worthy of publication!

So without further ado, here's Andre:

"Remember that since the last Jethro Tull tour he did in 1980 or 1981, Eddie Jobson had not been on stage other than that one Tull/Bach tribute show in 1985 and with Fairport Convention a little while earlier this day."

"They have not seen each other since Fripp, Belew et al were on a bill in Germany with Tull in the mid eighties. Adrian remembered the EXACT venue and some wacky art there. The photo below was taken not long ago -- like ninety minutes ago, I guess. I had just done a shot of black vodka with Peggy, Ade and the techs from KTU (Trey's band) -- super cool new friends from Finland. New place to visit and play and new friends to chill with when there.

Dave Pegg. Bass Extraordinaire. Fairport Convention. Jethro Tull.

"Julie rockin', a pyramid, and the masses Of Kazan Russia"

"So they had three stages, really - the music never stopped for more than one minute. You can see the active stage on the right... that's where the Adrian Belew Power Trio played...where the stage juts out. They would have the announcers between sets, and maybe a solo performer or some rappers, anyone who didn't need space or setup time. The stage on the far left of this -- you can see the green screen -- they would lower a screen on either main stage while we were setting up.

Man oh man. Some lightning setups I had to pull off on this one! You have just minutes, maybe twenty, while the other band played. With the crew rushing around of course, to set up your backline. Clockwork. We kicked ass. One of the BEST crews I've ever worked with. Two words -- the Dutch.

My bad luck? Our setup time was during the Keith Emerson set! FUCK! Well, I HEARD it! And I did catch like 1.5 songs. But during "Lucky Man", something seemed to be wrong with the modular moog... NO SOUND came out! Fortunately About half-way through, those classic sounds got was cool...we have all been there...40 years old synths can be moody at times..."

So I'm thinking right about now, it's almost 5:00 p.m. in Russia and the whole musical gang is now partying on a boat with the Mayor on the Volga River (which Google just told me is the largest river in Europe!) and assuming the vodka is flowing there as well, I'm not sure if I'm going to get anymore updates today or not, though Andre did promise and ha ha, I'll probably be getting some dandy ones from all of the, um, inebriated crew if I'm lucky so I'll be back with more as soon as I am in possession of the same. Cool? Cool!

Oh. One final thing. As it turns out, that was not a photo of Eric in the grand finale, but a pic of Patti Smith's bass player, Tony Shanahan. (D'oh, did I not see the bass in that photo?)

He's an old pal of Andre's and here's what he had to say about that:

"For weeks I was psyched to shock him (Tony Shanahan) half to death by showing up at their room. He had no idea I was here! I ran into Patti, Lenny, no one knew where Tony was "He's around" they all said. "I need it to be a surprise," I said.

Later, Tony Levin came out of their room and I said "Tony, is Shanahan in there" TLev replied, "Sure! Hey Tony, Andre is looking for you." Around the corner or the door I hear a puzzled, confused Shanahan say "Andre?" He came and and we laughed and bear hugged. Tony is the the "sweetest guy in the world" top ten. I'm so happy Julie and Eric got to meet him...and Eric jammed with him later at the hotel after party!

So, while we were catching up , I introduced Tony to Eddie Jobson. It turns out (of course) Tony was a huge fan - LOVES Roxy they have a great chat-- next thing I know, Eddie is gonna sit in with Patti Smith did Tony Levin!


They did "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "People have the Power".

Their "Teen Spirit" is taken at half-speed, very elegiac, acoustic --lovely version!

..."Because the Night" was great -- of course "Dancing Barefoot" was a highlight.

But doing my little part to cause a joyous musical collaboration between people whose vinyl I wore out back in my lonely teenage room was one of the more special memories I'll carry outta this place."

And on that note...

Wait! ETA ALERT! Here's are You Tubes, Part I and II, of the Grand Finale from the festival yesterday! Eddie Jobson fans are gonna love this. And Ade looks like he's having an absolute blast!


Saturday, August 30, 2008

In The Court of the Crimson Queen: Rehearsal in Julie Slick's Room

I have over one hundred of the coolest photos ever courtesy of The Adrian Belew Power Trio and I don't even know where to begin trying to decide which ones to put up here.

So first, as promised, here are some pics of rehearsal in The Queen's Julie's room. I had a hell of a time picking out the most interesting, so I'm not sure if these capture just how big her room is, but yep, she has two sofas in there which I did see in one I'm not posting due to poor quality.

Adrian Belew, Eddie Jobson, Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, and Eric Slick hashing out what will be incredible versions of Larks' Tongue in Aspic and Red. Notice that Eric is playing the trash can and Pat is playing the bed. Nice!

So how do I know the songs were amazing? Because I am the luckiest woman in the world. My daughter Skyped me during that portion of the show with her microphone and Gary and I got to hear both Larks' Tongue in Aspic and Red in full, as it was happening, and not only did we have the chills, I had tears running down my face. It was INSANE! Eric and Pat on double drums, Tony on bass, Eddie on violin, and the spectacular Adrian Belew on guitar. It was a religious experience.

Please oh please oh please let someone have recorded this concert for a professional DVD/CD.

Who am I kidding? I'd kill for a crappy You Tube.

So anyway, after the show, which Julie said was FABULOUS -- she said the Adrian Belew Power Trio were amazing -- we got to hear Julie, Eric, and Adrian talk to us via Skype, too, but I couldn't respond because it was early in the morning here and I didn't make that run for an iMic yet.

"Hi, Mom," said Julie. "Wasn't that great?" (Julie knew I didn't have a working mic so we also e-mailed while she spoke to me and I answered her that way when I realized, d'oh, that was all I had to do but half the time I forgot and answered her out loud like a total dolt)

"Dad and I are crying," I shouted as aforesaid to no one but Gary and me.

"Adrian! My mom and Dad are here - they listened to the whole thing on the computer!"

Adrian: "Hi Robin, Hi Gary! We miss you and wish you were here in Russia! More importantly, we wish you spoke Russian," he laughed.

Gary and I are such dorks, we're yelling back at the top of our lungs answering him even though we knew full well he couldn't hear us.

"Hi, Ade! We miss you, too!"

Oy, we are hopeless.

Adrian: "Hey, Eric was just in King Crimson!"

Us: "We know! We heard!"

More like mentally challenged.

Now even the dog is looking at us like we are was as if he knew we were talking to no one but an unresponsive, mic-less computer, too. Oh why oh why didn't I run out and buy a mic this morning? But truthfully, their show was 10:00 a.m. our time and stores do not open until 10:00 a.m. here and had we gone, we would have missed everything and then I would have had to kill myself.

I haven't heard about the encore yet, which was the Beatles' All You Need is Love, but the festival has a photo up on their website and I'm not sure if it's Eric front row second from the left or not but it sure looks like him:

I can't tell and it's my own son. What do you think? I guess I'll wait to hear from Eric and he'll confirm it - I do know he has a dark shirt like that; it's his stance and haircut...but I'm not positive. He said the trio was planning on dancing during the grand finale which really made me smile but who knows how it all panned out...when I talked to Julie last, the ABPT show and surprise Crimfest had just ended and they were off in search of something to eat before said grand finale.

I will say that after the Crimsonians did Larks Tongue and Red and left the stage, I clearly heard Julie tell Tony "that was awesome" and Tony replied, "Thanks, you're awesome, too" (Ha ha, we think that's what we heard but just in case we didn't, Julie, we apologize in advance for being insane though admit it, that's why you love us) but then we definitely heard Julie giggle and say "We'll do Thela in Moscow on Wednesday," and Tony agreed, which makes sense, since Tony, Julie, Pat, Eric, and Ade performed it brilliantly in Quebec this summer.

Let's see, what else. I dunno, my brain is still fried from witnessing that show this was that thrilling. So while I wait to hear from them, assuming that happens, let me share some of the fabulous tourist photos Julie uploaded to my site today.

Here's that wacky trio, who could star in their own version of a Hard Days have no idea. Or maybe you do. xo

Julie and Eric with their obligatory photo for the gushing parents and said parents thank you very much, guys:

Julie posing under an advertisement for a Russian radio station:

Eric on the tour bus, which has some pretty interesting seat covers, huh. Nice photography, Jules. Love it.

Look! Julie is not only the Crimson Queen, she's Peter Pan!

Isn't this crazy? It looks more like Disneyland than Russia:

Ha ha - Ade is either feeling the after effects of the twenty-seven hour flight or would that be flights of vodka?

Vegetarian Eric Slick standing in front of his worst nightmare:

Two best friends and band doesn't get much better:

Wow. I'm actually putting up two posts in one day. I hope I have something left for tomorrow!

I'm guessing yes.


Back in the U.S.S.R...Part II

"Well the Ukraine girls really knock me out
They leave the West behind
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout...

Okay, that photograph is hilarious. Look at the expressions on the faces of Ade, Eric and Andre. You have to know that these are three men who truly love their significant others so this is obviously a "requested by someone" shot. This is when I wish I knew how to do those comic book voice balloons. I'd have Ade saying "Martha, they made me do was not my idea though I am vaguely amused..." Eric would be parroting Ade, except substitute "Katy" for "Martha" and add "Who, me? You want me in this pic?"...but Andre...hmmm...he looks a little too "Why me-ish", doesn't he? Ha!

So speaking of Andre, the information continues to roll in from him, though I did have a hysterically funny conversation with Julie and Eric last night as I wildly tried to use Skype, only to learn after hours of research that when you use a mac without a built in microphone, only an iMic will work so now I've got to run out to an Apple Store or the like today. But I did end up talking to them on my cell phone (which blows me away - T-Mobile works from Russia to Philadelphia but oy, I do not want to see my monthly bill for that) was 1:30 a.m. their time when they called and they were obviously feeling no pain. Taking a quote from their now good friend Tony Levin's diary, "Entre-acte here at the Sotvorenie Mira 'Creation of Peace' festival. I had meant to update some photos from Moscow and the trip here, but with the many rehearsals, and usual scientific quest to find the best vodka(!) I have not had time until now."

So in speaking with a very tipsy Julie and Eric who yes, are obviously both on that same scientific quest, I learned that for whatever reason, Julie was given a suite at the hotel with two sofas, the nicest room in the hotel, which therefore also made her place the designated hang-out, rehearsal room.

"Mom, I have such stories and pictures for you but I'm really tired and I can't transfer the photos from the camera to your computer because the internet cost many many rubles here...but all I can tell you is, we really bonded with Tony Levin and Eddie Jobson and they spent all afternoon in my room rehearsing with us. Tony, Eddie, Adrian, and Eric are doing a killer version of Larks' Tongue in Aspic...anyway, we're really tired and we want to go to bed, but I just wanted to tell you we are going on at 6:00 p.m. which will be 10:00 a.m. your time in Philly so wish us luck!"

Oh God. So that's how she left me last night, but then I came downstairs this morning to another amazing email with many photographs from Andre, who apparently is willing to shell out those rubles! (Damn kids...if they weren't so toasted last night, I would have told them to just bill me like they always do, anyway. Ha!)

So again, edited post for privacy sake, but here's Andre:

"I started the day out with going down to the festival grounds to set Adrian up for the CRIMFEST soundcheck. As I met up with Tony Levin and others, we were all wondering out loud "Why soundcheck BEFORE the scheduled rehearsal?"

...ANYWAY - cutting to the chase -- after a comedic Keystone cops-like series of jumping through hoops to get the schedule changed so we could pull this special show off, I was able to set Ade's mini-rig up (a Johnson head and controller pedal, whammy pedal, Jimi/fuzz pedal, and Keeley compressor. Instead of what was confirmed by the backliners and then mysteriously absent (cough...cough) we used a pair of Fender twins (for their speakers only). I'm extra delighted since this will confuse the net-gear nerds "Wow! Adrian used a a pair of twins!!" What?? No way man! Er - I hear it was only the speakers." "Naw, I have checked the recording on my spectral analyser... they're twins alright!" Etc....

THIS WOULD BE the first time Tony Levin, Eddie Jobson, Pat Mastelotto and Adrian Belew --all Crimson alum
(Note from our author to my new friend Martyn: I know, I know) -- have played on the stage or anywhere together.... certainly the first time it all was joined by Eric Slick. They worked out LARKS' TONGUES IN sounded great outta the box with the inevitable rough spots and a couple of Fripp's parts that needed to be re-assigned and re-arranged...but in general it was great to hear them together. Of course the very special rare treat was hearing THAT violin sound again-- that of Eddie Jobson...the one and only tone from so many UK, Tull, Zappa and solo albums and shows. Eddie said later that his last show before this would have been the end of the Tull "A" tour!! With the exception perhaps on coming on stage once when Tull did some a show on Bach's 300th birthday on March 21, 1985....Eddie is returning to the prog world and live performance with his new group UKZ, more on them later.

Interviewers were on hand... crews gathered around to watch.....besides seeing the Emerson Modular beast come alive, this was the rehearsal to watch!

The soundcheck came along great and soon our time was up. I broke Ade's gear down, they rolled Pat's incredible set of DW drums and Roland trigger pads offstage, on it's riser. It came to rest just next to the GIANT cases marked "EMERSON" and "ELP"...

Pat had just got done with the KTU rehearsal...the trio he is in with Trey Gunn and Kimmo Pohjohnen....and Tony stayed onstage as he was about to start another check/rehearsal with Geoffrey Oryema of at least three times Tony would appear onstage at this huge fest!"

Here are some photos which Andre was kind enough to send from said sound check...first up is Eric Slick and Pat Mastelotto, who have an amazing, natural chemistry together which, as I mentioned in a prior post, really gave me the chills during the Friends of Crimson King show in Quebec City in July. Plus, they really, really like each other and are in each other's respective fan clubs:

Here's Eddie Jobson and Adrian Belew:

Here's Tony taking a photo of Eddie and Ade...

And Pat, Tony and Eddie jamming with Julie Slick standing in the wings, watching:

There's Julie watching Tony own daughter is stealing my fan girl crush! (Oh come on, I know it's now become a lame joke but I feel the need to continue because I am such a huge music nerd, what can I say?)

What you see from the stage:

And the provider of all this great gossip, Andre, in front of whatever it is:

Speaking of Andre, let's hear some more from him, which confirms what Julie on "wodka" told me last evening but in better detail:

"One gas guzzling bus ride and several text messages-to-organize-amps later, we re-convened to Julie Slick's room...Crimfest' lads plus Julie, Mark (Jobson's tech/studio engineer) and yours truly. With only two small amps and a shared mattress and some glass lampshades and garbage cans for drums & percussion, they again ran through LARKS' TONGUE and RED for the special appearance. Pretty unforgettable to see these gentlemen with the 140-150 years of accumulated progressive music history between them, just tightening up and re-arranging two of the classics of the canon in a large hotel room far inside Mother Russia...incredible. Stay tuned for pics of all this...

Then before you know it, off we were to a local restaurant ( for some decent japanese food (I had miso soup, tempura, avocado roll, and a GIANT dark beer)....lots of good sushi and good in house brews, wine and bread filled the table...I had the pleasure of sitting between Eddie Jobson and his tech Mark. I got to clear up ALL kinds of stuff that I lie awake nights wondering, like, about King Crimson, Curved Air, Roxy Music, Eddie's solo on "PROMISE NOT TO COME IN YOUR MOUTH" on Zappa in New York.

Eddie replied: "Oh, man, people always tell me they love that solo...I dunno...I think I'd better go check it out again! See, I had just gotten the Moog...I was just trying some stuff out, y'know? Is it that good?? I haven't heard it in years."

Here's a photo of the gang and yes, Andre, that is one huge beer for sure...and Eric, I hear there are huge mosquitoes over there so I'm guessing that has to do with what you are up to...

Back to Andre again...

"We also heard more in depth about how the Jethro Tull "A" album was supposed to be an Ian Anderson solo release but morphed into a proper Tull album. Of special interest was his tales of an unreleased album with many great people on it, including Bruford, Levin, Bulgarian choirs and one of my fave singer/songwriter guitarists Francis Dunnery on there! If you don't know of Francis, pause right now - check out his site and bio, and grab yerself some youtube and iTunes. He is unreal. AWESOME guitarist -- his prog/pop bad IT BITES opened for Tull a few times, and he has toured with Robert Plant, also plays on Plant's "Fate Of Nations" as well as albums as far-flung as Lauren Hill and Santana.

OK - back at Nerd-Central Restaurant, poor Eddie is sandwiched between Eric Slick and myself. It was good to give poor Adrian a break. Ponder the significance for a minute, the fate of a willingly talkative living legend caught between two freaks like us...groan!! Can you say Restraining Order?
(Ha ha, note from our author...just to clarify, both Eric Slick and Andre Cholmondeley are total music nerds and walking music encyclopedias and Eric especially knows stuff there's no way he should know...detailed facts about every freaking musician out there from like every single period of music, ever)

Okay, back to Andre again:

"Eddie is telling us cool stuff about the well known early 70s' invite he had to join YES, and of course he mentions his friend Pat Moraz. I then remember to mention that I met him twenty years ago at the Bruford/Moraz show in a small room at Montclair College in New Jersey. He is silent for a few seconds and says "I remember meeting you."

Way to make a fanboy's night, Eddie!

...I better get to sleep. I have a major day ahead making sure my people get on stage and kick ass. Emerson band is playing, Eddie Jobson's return to the stage for the first time in twenty-seven years or so...(he starts the day with FAIRPORT CONVENTION, of course with bassist Dave Pegg, who also did many years on with Tull). I'm really looking forward to giving my old buddy Tony Shanahan a coronary when I sneak up and surprise him -- he is Patti Smith's bassist and he has NO IDEA that I am here. And -- having seen many many Patti! What a bonus to catch one here!

LATER: Meeting....the great Keith Emerson yesterday!

P.S. Manna For Geargeeks Section: Besides Adrian Belew's stripped down rig, Eddie Jobson is playing his CLASSIC clear plastic violins...wireless to a rack offstage, with a Line6 POD XT rack, and a MIDI foot controller onstage. Clean, compact and replaceable in just about any modern city. Pat Mastelotto has his custom DWs, plus his laptop and a couple Roland units -- the SPD-S sampler/drumpad and the SPD-15 Handsonic. Tony Levin had a couple of Boss and other footpedals and his trusty Chapman Stick and an Ernie Ball Musicman bass and Eric Slick is on a compact set of house drums..."

Oh man, that was great, wasn't it? Thank you so much, Andre, and let me add that Eric and Andre will be back on the road with Project Object for a week in November - more on that as the information rolls in regarding venues, etc.

Okay, then, that's a wrap for now but I'll be back with another post as soon as I hear from everyone later today...assuming they do not continue on their, um, scientific quest for vodka which I suppose is entirely possible and inevitable.

But hope remains eternal...and that tease Andre gave about Keith quote Tom Petty, "the waiting is the hardest part!"




Friday, August 29, 2008

Back in the U.S.S.R... don't know how lucky you are, boy.

Oh. Sorry. I told you - any opportunity to sing a Beatle song.

But just how lucky are my kids...

So, yes, Adrian, Julie and Eric are having an absolutely amazing time in Russia. Lucky for me, tour manager Andre Cholmondeley has been providing me with all the juicy details and some fantastic photos.

Here's the Adrian Belew Power Trio at the airport in Russia.

According to an email I got from Eric, it was, including layovers and connecting flights, a twenty-seven hour trip. But look at Ade. He's such a kid. It's so awesome to see him ham it up. He's always smiling ear to ear around Eric and Julie and Ade told me something that really choked me up. He's got a goofy, messing-around pic of the three of them as the wallpaper on his laptop and whenever he needs a smile, he looks at it. Isn't that the coolest thing ever? Ha ha, well, it is to me - but then again, I am their mother.

So I was thrilled hearing from Eric, but I got an even better email from Andre. He gave me the gossip. Here is the edited version - sorry, some stuff is too juicy and personal to share.

Oh, I love my life. Anyway, here's Andre:

"Yes -- Today I'm in Kazan, Russia with Adrian Belew and his Power Trio--

Our first gig is Saturday, August 30. The bill includes....Keith Emerson Band, Eddie Jobson, Tony Levin, Trey Gunn, Pat Mastelotto, Patti Smith, Fairport Convention etc.....crazy! Can't wait to be at soundchecks/rehearsals...

Highlights---so far......listening all the way from Moscow to Kazan (90 minute flight) in (tiny) plane...(yikes)....on my iPod, to live ELP....and sneaking a glance or two at a sleeping KEITH EMERSON across the aisle, three rows back! Priceless! How can I EVER forget that shit!?!? During 'Take a Pebble' I had to pause to go piss. (Insert kidney stone joke here). When I came out of the bathroom, there was Keith waiting. I said hi real quick, he said hi and smiled, no real intros till today -- we were all at the check in line together yesterday, he and band, (including Marc Bonilla), Trey Gunn (playing in KTU) was also there...

Keith Emerson has been my favorite keyboard player since I discovered TRILOGY at about age 13 or 14. Other than that --- it's Eddie Jobson. The first UK album...inhuman. It's tough to find better keys performance ANYWHERE, next would be maybe Don Preston, Herbie, Chick,....George Duke and Wakeman further down the list. I have ELP's "Trilogy" on an average almost once a month since 1978.....have seen ELP, ELPowell, and two solo Keith gigs. I love him, especially his PIANO work. Karn Evil...absolute masterpiece, desert-island stuff.

So yeah. Listening to Tarkus while Keith naps across the aisle. Silly...but priceless.

And of course having some great talks with Eddie Jobson already - I freaked him out as we were all on line in Atlanta waiting to fly here -- before he had seen Ade or the band, I walked by singing his early 80s semi-hit "Turn It Over"

It blew his mind pretty well. I had met Eddie at a Bruford/Moraz gig 20 years ago, but now then I introduced myself as a professional (and secretly nerd-fanboy). Then Ade walked up to the line and they had a great reunion. They had met once years ago.....Crimson & Zappa alumni (!!) but have never played together. This will be the first time and I will document it with pictures and in my silly little prog-jackass head. Prog-Heaven!! Prog-Heaven!!!

Last night -- after 30 some hours of traveling and living in real fucked up with the Belew band, and Trey and his girlfriend. Jesus Christ. Russian bartenders can pour some damn drinks. Great gear-nerd chat with Trey -- -about where he is going with his NEW Warr guitars...will be horizontal, like a pedal steel. (A la how he plays it in the King Crimson video on the song "Construction of Light". Trey is super cool, I'm a big fan of his "molybdenum'CD and the KC years of course........he chuckled knowingly about the Fripp "Audience-Blocking-Wall-Of-Gear".

Very memorable evening. Last time I was getting fucked up in a hotel bar it was in July/Quebec...... with Tim Alexander and Les Claypool......hours after having drinks with Tony Levin!
(Note from our author...sigh...I was there, too...why the hell am I not in Russia now? Oh my God, it sounds like I'm missing the experience of a lifetime)

...Today checking out KAZAN -- very historic city -- google it! The gig is the 30th, next day we ride up the fucking VOLGA RIVER with the Mayor (the REAL one, not me) -- on a boat-party, that will be sick -- I believe most of the above people will be there....

Oh my god. My kids get to go on a cruise with these guys, too? Arghhh....

Here's a couple photos of the trio at sound check:

Here's a cool canal:

And last but not least, Keith Emerson's tech guys, one of whom is also named Keith and has been his/ELP's sound engineer, mixing his stuff since 1994 as well as something like six Beach Boy albums including their hit, Kokomo:

Okay, Andre, next I'm counting on you for some Eddie/Trey/Keith/Pat/Patti and most of all Adrian Belew Power Trio photos, okay? And um, don't forget my fan girl crush: Tony Levin.

(Oh, I'm kidding)

(I really have one for Keith...shhh...don't tell anyone)

But I did wake up to a sweet message from Julie instructing me to begin using skype to communicate with her. She added the following P.S.:

"If for some reason I'm not on, it's because soundcheck went long or we ended up jamming with Eddie Jobson, Tony, and Pat. That would be a good enough excuse I hope!"

Um, yeah, Julie. For sure.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

To Russia With Love

Oh behave. I know it's really From Russia with Love, but it's my "two" who are over there right now and yes, be thankful I didn't give this journal post the cheesy header "Two Russia With Love" okay?

Sorry. I had to post that pic. I mean, come on. Sean Connery.

So as the billboards I've been posting all over the internet have already announced, the Adrian Belew Power Trio are playing two major shows in Russia during the next ten days, with the first one being this Saturday night in Kazan. Here's the link for the Creation of Peace Festival and if you hit "English" or use Google Translate, you will see that the grand finale is Patti Smith, Keith Emerson, the Adrian Belew Power Trio, Fairport Convention, Tony Levin and more performing the Beatles' All You Need is Love.

Why oh why oh why did I not tag along on this tour?

Anyway...take a look at the accommodations - the poor, poor musicians actually have to stay at his hotel:

Now this one cracks me up. On the hotel website, in the photo gallery section, this pic is labeled the "Fitness Room". Ahem. Is it just me or is the Fitness Room a bar?

Seriously? Do you see any exercise equipment there? Too funny...

But if it is a bar, oh man, my kids are going to be having drinks with some very heavy hitters over the next couple days. I know I wrote about the Keith Emerson connection regarding the night Julie was born but something even freakier happened. The evening I was in labor and didn't really know it because naturally I didn't have timed contractions like every other normal human being, along with Take a Pebble, the other calming song I listened to non-stop was the extended play version (yes, an album) of the theme song to one of my favorite movies, Local Hero. During dinner on my birthday last week, I had the urge to hear that song again so we put it on the turntable (yes, I still have a turntable because if you think I threw out 5,000 albums when CDs arrived on the scene, think again, and I'm so glad I didn't because I love, love, love vinyl and still buy it). All of a sudden, Gary looks at the album cover and says "Oh. My. God." and I'm like "What? What?" He hands it to me wordlessly, I stare at it blankly, and he says "Look who is playing bass..."

Yep, you guessed it. Tony Levin.

Here's a You Tube I found, but...sob...Tony is not on it nor could I find one with him, damn it...but still...have a's the most incredibly beautiful song:

Things in my life just so weirdly go full circle. And now Julie is in Russia, about to perform with both Keith and Tony. By the way, the second show, in Moscow on September 3, is an actual King Crimson Festival, and around 3/4 of KC alumni will be there, along with the Adrian Belew Power Trio, and will perform around an hour of KC material along with their own sets. More on that in a few days.

Back to the fabulous hotel in Kazan...

Here's what is labeled a "rest area":

The pool isn't half bad, either:

And of course after seeing those photographs, I could not help but check out where they will be staying in Moscow next week...

Gah! What a life my two kids have. I will of course have much more news once I am in contact with Julie and Eric...according to their flight schedule, they arrived in Russia around 2:30 a.m. our time and since Russia is ahead of us by eight hours, I assume they are settled in right now but since we use AOL, I'm able to see that they have not picked up their email yet which makes me wonder if they have wireless in their rooms or, heaven forbid, their converters for their laptops don't work back in the USSR (hey, is it still called that? I doubt it...but you know me, any time I can throw in a Beatle reference...)

It's funny. In another full circle moment, my grandfather left Russia in the early 1900's to come to America as a young boy, fleeing the Russian Pogroms. When I met Tony Levin in Canada last month, we discussed the fact that we had a similar ancestry. He of course had been to Russia on tour previously and told me some fascinating stuff...I hope Julie and Eric get to do a little sight seeing but they got some advance warning that they had to stay in a group and not go wandering off on their own and I think I'll leave it at that so I don't go into a total panic attack right now.

So yep, the Creation of Peace Festival this Saturday night is an amazing event, and one of the sponsors is Rolling Stone Magazine which is just too, too cool even though yeah yeah, Rolling Stone is practically unreadable these days as they have an American Idol mentality music wise and they've sadly lost their way but hey, anyone who grew up when I did will still have that wishful, wistful "On the cover of Rolling Stone" dream and pardon me if I fantasize seeing this someday on newsstands:

Or, I'll settle for the caption "E", which is the working title of the new studio album...

I'm not picky, just crazy, and I hope I hear from Julie/Eric today with more news you can use but until then...