Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Saturday made for four concerts in ten days. Not a record or anything but a lot for me. Couple away, couple at home. Couple of classical, a classic rock, and a real classic.

First up, on Feb. 28, was the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. Kurt Masur returned to lead the band in Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony. The dynamics in the third and fourth movements were just outstanding, as was the brass throughout. Utterly beautiful ending to one of the most moving symphonies ever written.

The soloist, Sergey Khachatryan, played Sibelius' violin concerto. The opener was Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture.

The next night it was Martha Argerich and the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Argerich was in fine form, as you might expect from one of the great pianists of all time, playing Beethoven's 2nd Concerto beautifully (0f course). The orchestra finished up with Scheherazade.

Next up, last Monday, was The Who at the Sears Centre (sic). Sears Centre (sic) good: just about 5 miles door to door. Sears Centre (sic) bad: just about 40 minutes to cover the ground (both ways) because of the insanely bad parking situation.

The Tragically Hip opened the show, and I was very psyched to see them. Unfortunately, I spent all but their last three songs trying to get the car parked and get into the arena.

The most noticeable thing about the crowd? Their age. And not in a good way. Talk about an aging baby boomer special, the average age may have been less than that of the band (at least the original two), but not by much. Live at Leeds, the crowd was long in the hair. Live at Sears Centre (sic), just long in the tooth.

The music, though, was all you could ask for at this point in their careers. While the background screen show of mod-era pics during "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere" definitely made me wish I could have seen that band, the one on the Sears Centre (sic) stage was pretty damn good as well.

Townshend was in fine windmilling form, with a few hops thrown in for good measure. Daltrey spun his retro mike cord like the days of yore, and even managed to hit some of the old high notes as well. But the key to the real Who was always Keith Moon's frenetic lead drumming. Zak Starkey (aka Ringo's boy) filled the toasty seat of the long-mouldering Moonie, and filled it pretty admirably.

The show's highlight moment? Had to be the most improbable moment as well. If you had asked me going in for the one thing I'd be least likely to hear, I would have said the singing scream after the synth solo on "Won't Get Fooled Again." Well, the moment came, and the high note was screamed just as you would have hoped.

The closer was last Saturday night, Smoking Popes at Durty Nellies. One-time Q101 phenoms, turned label rejects, turned Christian, turned Christian rockers, turned re-formed band, the Caterer brothers +1 got back together to play Metro and Lollapalooza last year and are now on something of a mini-tour.

The show was, basically, a total love-fest. One of those shows where the singer can sing way off mike for a while because everyone in the room is singing at the top of their lungs all the time anyway. Josh Caterer did this very thing a couple of times, and that was fine but the crowd's singing is no replacement for one of the truly distinctive instruments in rock music.

It took a while for the board guy to figure it out and get the mix right, but by the end of the set you could finally hear him sing and that is definitely worth hearing. The band was tight, the songs were melodic as hell, and the singing was absolutely ethereal.



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