"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Two old men of music

My ears are still ringing from last night's concert at Rod Laver Arena! Steve Miller Band and Santana gave it their all, and what a great evening of entertainment they served up! Steve Miller Band started the night off, belting out long forgotten numbers such as 'Abracadabra', 'Wild Mountain Honey', 'Jet Airliner', and many more. We had great seats, about 10 rows from the stage, and had a close-up view of Steve and his crew. The backdrop was a swirl of guitars, with fairy lights changing colour and strobes flicking everywhere. All around me, other baby boomers were reliving their youth, singing and swaying along to the beat of the late 60s. One hippie chick was swaying away in her own little world a row in front of us, and I was powerfully reminded of the concerts I attended way back when. Steve is a master of guitar, and like other 'elders' of the music business, (Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, and of course, Santana), has kept his amazing guitar skills - and also his voice. His band are all skilled musicians, and a fairly recent addition to the group, Sonny Charles, has a brilliant blues voice, and hey! some cool moves for an old dude! They played solidly for just over an hour, and left with a standing ovation and cheers of enthusiasm from the sell-out audience.

Next up was Santana, and during the break one could see already that a different calibre of band was going to perform. Three sets of drum kits, for a start! The stage took half an hour to set up, and expectations were running high! Then the lights went out, and the band launched into a loud, funky beat, with Mr. Santana in cool white from hat to toe, torturing his guitar and our ears! Only in a good way! Carlos proceeded to "re-arrange our molecular structure (sic)", which he managed to to with a bass set to dissolving bones and jiggling stomachs! The decibel range was off the chart. Everybody was out of their seats pretty quick smart and gyrating away to "Black Magic Woman", "Oye como va", "Maria Maria", "Evil Ways", "Samba pa ti" and so on. Santana is arguably the best guitar player alive (I dare you to argue with me!), and just a joy to watch and listen to. Each of his band members is an accomplished musician in their own right. Santana doesn't sing much any more, these days he has two energetic young singers for the vocals, and they do a great job, while the Master can concentrate on his guitar. Steve Miller came out again and played some cool tunes, soon joined by Santana, and what a treat it was to see the two Masters giving it their all! There's absolutely no way anybody can stay off their toes while all this is going on, and even my ears got used to the racket, that is, until I stepped out into the balmy Melbourne night and felt my head was wrapped in cotton wool! Thanks for a wonderful evening, Steve and Carlos! I'll be hearing "oye como va" for a while longer in my dreams....

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A little Emerson to inspire

The day, immeasurably long, sleeps over the broad hills and warm wide fields. To have lived through all its sunny hours, seems longevity enough. The solitary places do not seem quite lonely. At the gates of the forest, the surprised man of the world is forced to leave his city estimates of great and small, wise and foolish. The knapsack of custom falls off his back with the first step he makes into these precincts. Here is sanctity which shames our religions, and reality which discredits our heroes. Here we find nature to be the circumstance which dwarfs every other circumstance, and judges like a god all men that come to her. We have crept out of our close and crowded houses into the night and morning, and we see what majestic beauties daily wrap us in their bosom.

(From: Emerson for the day [blog])