Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Furthur @ The Greek Theatre 9/21

Last night Fischer Trucking of my home town of Petaluma rolled the stage, lights, and band equipment of Grateful Dead legends Bob Weir and Phil Lesh's new ensemble, Furthur, into the comforts of The Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. What does the trucking company that has been hauling the Grateful Dead since the early eighties have to do with the concert? Big and little Mike Fischer are the only reason that the author of this blog was able to attend. The concert didn't seem sold out, but upon arriving to claim the tickets left for myself and the beautiful Adrienne at will call we saw a line of at least a hundred wide-eyed hippies that disappeared up the hill and continued on for lord knows how long. The seats were the best that I've had the pleasure of enjoying at this venue and the show was pretty damn good. Highlights from the first set include opening with "Alligator," and closing with an up tempo "Mason's Children." John Kadlecik was in great form taking on his duties as the "Jerry," character of the group while other "youngsters" Jeff Chimenti on keys and most importantly Joe Russo (STUD) playing both rhythm devils were on fire. The soloing was great, the jams were blatantly well rehearsed form-wise with players actually having sheet music!!! Not the same get stoned and find your way through the mayhem Dead that many of the audience members still revel in. The band has evolved and certainly gone Furthur. Phil sang a number of his tunes throughout the night as well as classics from Bobby and John. The only bad thing I can say (for the entire show) is that Weir's guitar was pretty much inaudible for the majority of the first set. Second set highlights include a complete "Weather Report Suite," which pretty much blew my mind to even be included in the set. The bulk of the second half of one of my favorite pieces of vinyl, "Wake of the Flood." The ensemble played great throughout and the crowd went nuts everytime Weir came back to the mic. Then the set closed with a beautiful rendition of "Morning Dew," sung wonderfully and then shredded to pieces by Kadlecik. This was a real treat for deadheads as Kadlecik's vocal and guitar not only sounded like Garcia, but a young and vigorous Garcia circa 1972. After this lengthy performance I thought the second set was closed, but not before a high energy "Playin' in the Band," which really brought the house down. Phil then returned to the stage to give a quick heartfelt speech about being the recipient of an organ donation. Short and sweet was his touching tribute to the person who saved is life and 6 others and then he announced that they had one more....

Monday, September 6, 2010

He and Shim at the LA Food and Wine Festival

M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel are the duo She and Him. Their two albums "Volume 1," and "Volume 2" are both warm, fuzzy, analogue recordings produced by Ward and tastefully arranged with the help of Mike Mogis and other session cats. Deschanel's voice is one that I can only describe as timeless. It has a quality that when coupled with Ward's production style and smooth backup vocals creates recordings that would be impossible to place on a timeline if heard without prior knowledge or description. Despite the possibility of minor pitch issues- which may have gone unnoticed by this kid's trained ear- I would say that she didn't miss a single note last night and she certainly didn't hold anything back. I have heard both albums, but mostly couldn't wait or barely stand to hear her endearing and passionate renditions of their tunes "Sentimental Heart," and "Change is Hard." Beautiful. The rest of the Food and Wine Festival was also fantastic. We managed to find the LA Times Wine Club booth in the back which was giving out healthy pours of Roblar Sauvignon blanc and various other varietals and stayed in the vicinity. Near by was some delicious free blueberry lemonade for hydration and some free tequila in the form of shots and tequila-cran concoctions. Eventually we filled up and headed over to the stage where Deschanel and Ward played songs from both albums as well as some thoughtfully chosen covers including an acoustic guitar and ukulele duet of "Wouldn't it Be Nice," by the Beach Boys and a raucous encore of "Roll Over Beethoven," from the Chuck Berry catalogue. Zooey's telecaster shaped ukulele was pretty cool to see as well. Great set. Far away pic, but you see the scene. Your welcome LA Times for the free advertising. I know you need it.