Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comp tickets!!!!!!!....

One of the great things about being a musician in NYC is the opportunity to go see great shows, sometimes for free...sort of takes the sting out of not buying clothes, taking vacations or having health insurance... :)

Seriously though, my colleagues are very generous, and this has been a good week for generosity!

On Saturday, I caught a matinee of a new musical called "Illyria" staged by the Prospect Players. It was presented in a small black box theater on West 26th street between 8th & 9th Aves. I'm always surprised by all these great little theaters tucked away in the buildings of this city. They're everywhere...

My friend Tom Piercy hooked me up. Tom and I go back all the way to college, which at this point is 30+ years(!). He was always one of the standout musicians where we went. He made an honest man out of himself by going on to a good graduate school (I didn't), and he has been in the NY scene ever since. He is amazingly talented.

Recently, we've had a chance to work together, both on my latest film score, where he played clarinets and bass clarinet, and also on a CD of his, which is for clarinet and classical guitar duets. He and his guitarist came in for a couple of marathon sessions a few months ago, and we're putting the finishing touches on that now. We also did a nice session for Michael Lydon a few months back, him on the clarinet and me behind the mixing board.

"Illyria" is an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night". It was hilarious, and the music was outstanding.

Thanks Tom, I totally enjoyed the show!

Then Monday night, out to NJ, where my good buddy Murray Weinstock took me out to see Steely Dan for their 'Think Fast' tour. We had the whole 9 yards, amazing seats (worth $150 a pop) as well as VIP backstage access:

The band was comprised of 13 pieces. Murray knew several of them. They are as follows:

Tawatha Agee [Backing Vocals:'08]
Keith Carlock [Drums: 03-'08]
Jon Herington [Guitar: '00-'08]
Michael Leonhart [Trumpet, Keys: '00-'08]
Cindy Mizelle [Backing Vocals: '03-'08]
Jim Pugh [Trombone: '00-'08]
Roger Rosenberg [Baritone Saxophone: '06-'08]
Catherine Russell [B. Vocals: various dates '08]
Freddie Washington [Bass: '06-'08]
Walt Weiskopf [Saxophone: '03-'08]
Jeff Young [Keyboards, B. Vocals: '06-'08]

As well as those two other guys....

The show was tight! The familiar songs seemed to come again, and again, and again. You forget how much these guys have done. No "Reelin' in the Years" though. Still, the hits kept coming.

If there was a weak link to the show, it would've had to have been the room itself, which was a little too reflective. One of the techs from the theater asked about it, and I told him the room needs a rug or baffles. The room is I think comparable to Carnegie in size, but this show would've sounded amazing there. It's the room treatment. On the other hand, you can't drink beer in Carnegie, so I realize the rug idea is a nonstarter.

This also was probably not Becker's very best show of all eternity, but the guitarist next to him is so freakin' good that it's hard to keep up I'm sure.

Also, I'd like to implore Jon to give the telecaster a break, or EQ a little of the brightness out of it. It's cool on a record, but a little overpowering in person...I'm just sayin'...

I personally dislike telecasters, soundwise.

Finally, I felt a little like I was channeling Margaret Mead, watching the natives exhibit their mating habits and rituals in their natural habitat (Montclair NJ). It felt like going back to my childhood, when people actually had fun, instead of working all the time. It's not an age thing, it's a New York City vs. other places thing.

Dig the myspace self portrait of Murray and I:

...and Murray with the Front of House mixer, Night Bob, who was responsible for the nice accommodation:

Thanks Night Bob, and happy birthday!

At the end, we hung for a minute, but ended up headed back for the city pretty quickly. As a drunken women wandered over to us to make friends afterward, imploring us to go over to her place, I fantasized I could've stayed for the "festivities". Murray was my ride, and happily married, but a thought did pass through my mind, if not his. Oh, this place where people are out doing the party thing...

...and yet - this night - my inner Mead was not to be indulged...

The dogs of NYC were waiting...literally:

Thanks Murray, really great show!!


Simon Walsh said...

Freddie Washington. Oh yeah! I bet that was an amazing treat. And Tawatha Agee, another amazing musician.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Steely Dan! I am really glad you got to go. FM: No static at all.