Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘concert review

Leo Live

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Wow. Really wow. Last night, Cyndie and I met her parents downtown in Minneapolis for a wonderful dinner at Sanctuary restaurant across the street from the Guthrie Theater, followed by a fantastic night of live music on the Wurtele Thrust Stage.

I knew we were going to see headliner Leo Kottke, but the special guest warmup duo of music legends Peter Asher and Albert Lee was a fabulous unexpected bonus.

The Guthrie asked that no pictures be taken during the performance, so I snapped a shot of the setup for Peter and Albert in front of the Scrooge-ly scenery for “A Christmas Carol” before they came out.

Both Peter and Albert did a pleasing job of sharing tales from their storied past in the music biz to supplant their warm acoustic versions of classic songs from The Everly Brothers and Elvis, as well as several of their own. They offered a fair amount of name dropping from their musical past, not the least of which included Paul McCartney, whom Peter shared living space with for a couple of years.

Then it was Leo’s turn. Stagehands had removed all the gear except for one chair and a couple of microphones. Leo doesn’t even use guitar stands. He came on stage with a guitar in each hand, laid one on its side on the floor by his chair and started right into “Pamela Brown.”

His quirky humor and somewhat convoluted stories were thoroughly entertaining and helped to convey a feeling that we were just hanging out with him in a far less public social setting. His complicated fretwork was as intimidating and inspiring as ever.

I caught myself grinning all evening long.

It really was “Wow.”

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Written by johnwhays

November 26, 2019 at 7:00 am

Downtown Again

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Once again, we made the easy dash from our beautiful countryside into the metropolitan energy buzzing just 45-minutes away. Last night, it was the precious Palace Theatre in downtown St. Paul for the Iron & Wine concert.

It was another fabulously successful adventure for Cyndie and me. As a soaking rain settled over the land, Cyndie was able to escort the chickens into the coop early, allowing us to venture through fading daylight and blurring road spray to compete for parking with NHL’s Minnesota Wild hockey fans.

My first parking ramp option just happened to be closed for construction, so it was a single trip around the block, barely squeaking through an intersection on the brink of gridlock, to reach an easy and convenient second choice.

We arrived at the theatre early and took some time to explore the layout, as this was our first event at the renovated historic venue. It is a wonderful mashup of new and old. The almost scary looking ceiling made an early impression, but every other sense was extremely positive for a place to enjoy music performance.

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I had chosen to buy reserved seats in the balcony over the main floor standing general admission. Even though I purchased the tickets as early as possible, the best available was half-way up from the front of the balcony. Cyndie captured a shot while I was checking out the view from the first row. Really nice seats, if you can get them.

We aren’t overly familiar with the full career of Sam Beam as Iron & Wine, but being repeatedly struck by the sound every time I hear a cut played on the radio, I wanted to see where it comes from in person. We weren’t disappointed.

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The giant hanging cotton balls were a little funky, but they captured the colored lights nicely. The dancing light on the back curtain was perfect, every song.

Sam Beam was wonderfully social and totally obliterates any concept of a fourth wall separating the performer from the audience. At one point, he graciously interacted with a fan who shouted a knock-knock joke.

Almost every time, just as the interactive banter approached a point of being too much, the imaginary veil would fall and a song would swiftly transport the ambiance to a far away place of Sam’s creation. He does well with plying a craft of sparse quiet guitar work with delicate instrumentation from his supporting musicians, bolstered by moments of full momentum and volume.

Even though the show started around the time we often head for bed, we hung around for the full show, including the perfect encore song, for which the female members of the band returned wearing beards that looked mysteriously similar to Sam’s.

What?

A wonderful time was had by all. We chalk it up as one more good experience heading downtown from the countryside, again.

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Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2017 at 10:37 am