Posts Tagged ‘al dimeola

08
Nov
11

Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger: The Egg 11/9/11

I received an email from our local liberal artsy-fartsy venue called The Egg; a venue that HiFi has visited on several occasions to catch excellent past shows like Dweezil Zappa and Al DiMeola.  Most of the time The Egg tends to pander to international dancing acts, modern dance groups, or musicians that often tend to be more underground yet accomplished in their own right, such as Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin.  At times The Egg will have mainstream performers such as ex-Audioslave and Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell or Phish bass-player-extrodinaire Mike Gordon rolling through for a rare appearance.  Often these shows are for smaller audiences and thus offer a far more up close and personal experience all around.  My only gripe in the past has been The Egg’s lame ticket policy of offering the best seats to “Egg Members” and then offering the very same seats (if the don’t sell) closer to the actual night of the show instead of when they release them to the general public. 

The Egg has two theaters, one big (Hart Theater – 982 seats) and one small (Swyer Theater – 450 seats); while each theater may reflect half of each size, it can be truly said that there are no bad seats perse.  However, during the Dweezil show (held in the larger Swyer Theater) HiFi was seated far right of the stage and were unable to see the movie screen, bummer, but not the end of the world.  For the DiMeola show it was held in the Hart Theater and it was more than cozy and probably one of the best $35 I’ve spent on a concert; truly worthwhile.

Appearently The Door’s legends Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger are touring and will play the venue on Wednesday, November 9th, cool.  As much as I am curious about an evening with members of The Doors, and I’m sure it will be a solid show, I can’t help but wish the bill included Ian Astbury (ex- The Cult) as the faux-Morrison lead singer.  Astbury has toured with them over the past few years and has imitated Morrison impecably!  I’m not sure if HiFi readers have seen a clip of Astbury channeling Morrison, but it’s pretty friggin’ awesome! 

Since Astbury will not be featured I feel affects the overall price of the tickets; simply listening to Manzarek and Krieger play will cost you the range of $35 – $60, a bit steep in my opinion.  Later in the month at The Egg, the legendary Ray Davies, the lead singer of The Kinks, and is only charging $39 – $49 for tickets! Sorry, but Manzarek and Krieger were merely backing musicians and I can’t justify that kind of cash.  It’s like paying $50 for Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones as a night with Led Zeppelin, but it ain’t.  I dunno, although Manzarek’s keyboards were an integral part to The Doors sound, I just still can’t see spending my hard earned cash.  I’m thinking more 1/2 The Doors = 1/2 the price, no?

If you check the show out I’m sure it will be good, I’m not trying to take anything away from their legacy, but without Astbury providing his rendition of Morrison I’m less inclined to want to spend the money.  I’ve provided you a clip of the Astbury version of “Break On Through” with Manzarek and Krieger backing; tell us if you think the price is worth it without him?

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22
Oct
10

Zappa Plays Zappa @ The Egg 12/16/10

Upon taking my first sip of coffee an intern here at HiFi Central burst into my office with a tattered and ripped newspaper clipping claiming the impossible is possible, yes Dweezil Zappa will grace our fair city once again, but this time at the very cozy and intimate setting of The Egg. 

For those of you who have followed this blog for some time I have praised the The Egg for it’s charm and warmth as a venue, and also trounced it’s smarmy underhanded practices at lame ticket sales.  The venue has been around since the late 1970’s and has provided a stage for the more intellectual of the arts and for artists looking for a cozier venue than the classic restored vaudville theaters or the open air ampi-theaters.  For those who enter the gates of the city of Albany, The Egg looks like a giant concrete flying saucer and often gets the initial question “what the hell is that thing”?; but once you have experienced the environment that The Egg provides, you look forward to the next show since it is often very up close and personal with and for both the artist and the spectator.

Fellow HiFi contributor EricStraus and I saw Al DiMeola last January at this venue; the show was magnificent (although shorter than we expected) we felt as if Al DiMeola had invited just his closest friends in for a taste of his catalog; the feeling free, relaxed, and very cozy.

Now Dweezil will grace us with his presence on December 16th and I could not be happier.  I missed his last concert at The Palace (a 1900’s restored vaudeville theater where The Stones played in the 1960’s and Dylan frequently played in the 1970’s), but was unable to attend.  A friend of mine saw Zappa at the Mahaiwe Center For The Performing Arts (Great Barrington, MA) in October and said the show was superb!  So, finally I will get my chance to witness the son-of-Zappa continue his fathers legacy for my own eyes.  A cool thing is that 5 days after this show (December 21st) would have been Frank’s 70th birthday; so it will be a fitting time to see  his legacy that night.  Apparently much of the concert will be focused on playing songs off of 1974’s album “Apostrophe”.

Tickets are a bit steep at $32.50 but considering this is a special show in honor of Zappa’s 70th birthday I think they will be well worth the price.

If you would like to get tickets to this show, click here.  I’m sure they will sell out quickly.

Update as of 11/16/2010 – Zappa Plays Zappa is SOLD OUT!   We got our tickets…hope you got yours!

Dweezil last played The Egg in 2008.

A 12/17 review of this show can be found by clicking the HIFI banner above and scrolling or clicking December 2010 in the Archives on the right hand side of this blog

24
Sep
10

Frank Zappa – Tinseltown Rebellion (1981)

Tinseltown Rebellion is a classic Zappa album that was originally released as a 2-lp set and later released by RykoDisc as a single length CD.  The album is the first official release that introduced Steve Vai on guitar.  It should be noted that  Peter Wolf (J Geils Band) is featured on keyboards as well on this album.

The first two song s”Fine Girl”  and “Easy Meat” are the only studio tracks released on the album; the remainder of  the album is comprised of various live performances between 1978 and 1980.  The live tracks are not overdubbed or re-mastered by Zappa as many later albums were such as You Are What You Is (another 2-lp album released in September of the same year).

This album, like many of Zappa’s albums around this decade, provide the listener with an example of the various directions Zappa was capable of taking his music.  The third track The Young Sophisticate is a good song and has a Joe’s Garage type feel and tempo, however the next song Love of My Life exemplifies Zappa’s love affair with the doo-wop genre.  There are other examples of Zappa’s doo-wop style on later compilation albums such as Cheap Thrills (1998) and Son of Cheap Thrills (1999). 

The album quickly shifts gears with I Ain’t Got No Heart, a song that exemplifies Zappa’s innate ability to compose and perform complex arrangements and random time changes.  As mentioned in earlier reviews of Zappa, the people he surrounded himself were simply the best of musicians.  The monologue Panty Rap  and Dance Contest are classic Zappa moments and provides listeners who never had the opportunity to see Zappa live just how interactive and entertaining he was with a crowd; although some may find it offensive I think it’s incredibly entertaining.  Clearly Zappa and his band had a panty fetish while on the road, there is another entertaining song/parity on the album Man From Utopia (1983) entitled “The Jazz Discharge Party Hats”, another Zappa classic.

Now You See It – Now You Don’t showcases Zappa’s guitar talent; although a purely instrumental song it fits nicely in the middle of the album; if you would like to hear more of Zappa’s instrumental work I highly suggest Shut Up and Play Yer’ Guitar (1981) or Zappa: Guitar (1988).

The Blue Light is a random song on the album and actually is reminscent of songs off of Man From Utopia (1983); and that album that would not be produced for another 2-years, so perhaps this song is a precursor. Tinseltown Rebellion is the title track for the album and is entertaining on its own.  The remaining tracks are all good on the album but nothing specifically unique.

The ending track Peaches III is very cool since it is a  live performance of Peaches en Regalia off of Zappa’s early work Hot Rats (1969).  The song is awesome to hear performed live (although live versions can be found throughout the Zappa catalog, my personal favorite live version of Peaches in addition to this is Mothers at The Fillmore East 1971).  The cool thing about this version is the cameo of guitar great Al DiMeola!

All in all Tinseltown Rebellion is a solid Zappa album and one that a newbie or experienced Zappa fan will greatly appreciate as part of their collection.  Give it a few listens and it will quickly grow on you.

Frank Zappa’s Tinseltown Rebellion gets 5 stars!

12
May
10

Tommy Emmanuel – A Living Legend (and touring!)

I was talking to a friend the other day about great guitarists and great guitar songs; the name Tommy Emmanuel came up (along with Al DiMeola, Wes Montgomery, Strunz and Farah, Aucousticl Alchemy, George Benson, and many others) and his classic rendition of “Classical Gas”; many of our younger readers have never heard of this classic song, nor Emmanuel for that fact.  I remember that my father had an album featuring Classical Gas and it was the one song I played over and over again, it’s just a remarkable composition.

I had long forgotten about the Tommy Emmanuel and decided to Google him after watching the video below; they guy is alive and well…and currently touring!  As usual he is playing everywhere but HiFi’s home turf (Albany, NY), but you never know who will roll through this town at the last minute; we’ll keep our fingers crossed.  His tour is quite extensive and he is hitting many top cities across the country and the World, so if you’re lucky to have him swinging through…get your tickets and PLEASE tell us about it.

Click here to see Tommy Emmanuels 2010 tour schedule.

09
Apr
10

Al DiMeola Tour 2010 – East Coast Summer Shows

Thanks be to the gods!  Al’s website has decreed that the master will play 3 shows on the East Coast this summer; one of those shows is in Hi Fi’s hometown!

Al will be playing with his incredible World Sinfonia at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC as we locals call it) and I’m sure it will be very sold out since Saratoga is a hot spot in summertime.

There are two more dates that you might want to know about so, here they are!

06/25/2010 – NEW YORK, NY – THE HIGHLINE BALLROOM

06/26/2010 – SARATOGA, NY – SARATOGA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

06/27/2010 – NATICK, MA – THE CENTER FOR THE ARTS IN NATICK

03
Feb
10

Al DiMeola NJ concert Tonight!

Just announced on Al DiMeola’s website, he will be playing a benefit concert tonight (Wednesday, February 3rd) for Haitian relief in Old Tappan, New Jersey at the Charles De Wolf Middle School.  Tickets and show information can be had by calling 201-664-1475.

Clearly a last minute gig by Al but for a very good cause indeed.  Welp, if you’re lucky enough to find this blog and live in the Tri-County area, see the master!

If you go to this show, please comment back how it was; we would love to know!

02
Feb
10

Al DiMeola Website Corrected!

Al DiMeola’s website has now officially taken down the “Final US tour” text…although, not as a result of this blog I’m sure.

I thought it odd after his show on Saturday night and his introduction of a new album being released that he would not follow it up with a tour (everywhere on the planet in his case).  I’m hoping that this was simply a teaser date and that he will re-visit Albany when the album is officially released.




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