Steely Dan – “The People Request”

Who: Steely Dan

Where: The Beacon Theatre, Manhattan, New York City, USA

When: 21st October 2018

What: By Popular Demand

On the first days of booking tickets for this “popular demand” show, ticket-buyers were asked by Ticketmaster to write-in their requests for songs to be featured. Now those who booked on the first day were probably (for the most part) die-hard Dan fans who had in mind songs that they had seldom heard before. But if this was the case then, there was little evidence of it in the set that emerged with this more closely resembling a “Greatest Hits” show than two-hours of rarities and deep cuts. Now that is not to say that this wasn’t a wonderful show to see. This band are tighter than they have ever been. Older bands like this either barely tolerate being on the stage as each other (look at the recent Fleetwood Mac debacle) or they have grown close and closer still through years of musical and personal inter-action. The latter is the case with Steely Dan

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Orchestral Hackett!

Who: Steve Hackett

What: Classic Genesis Revisited with Band and Orchestra

Where: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London

When: 4th October 2018

Steve Hackett, as you probably know, left Genesis a little over forty years ago (yes, I know, doesn’t it make you feel old). A few years ago, he hit on the idea of no longer seeing his musical career as two exclusive parts and introducing Genesis material into his shows – under the umbrella term “Genesis Revisited“. It has worked beyond expectations. Larger venues have been booked. Bigger houses and receipts are taken. Audiences are happy. What’s not to like, right? Let’s see how the current tour is going…

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Alvin – A True Star on All Kinds of Levels

Commemorating the life of Alvin Stardust, I think I heard somewhere that tributes were being sought for an event which is to be held in the town of his youth, Mansfield. The suggestion may have come from Dave Harness who functioned as Alvin’s road manager during the latter part of his career and who I count as a friend but, anyway, I read it somewhere. It got me to thinking on what I’d want to say.

I can’t be at the opening day of the event because of a writing commission which is going to take me to New York for a month, but I hope to visit it thereafter, but I thought to gather my thoughts here and now.

I’d written an obituary of sorts about Alvin at the time of his passing which can be found elsewhere on the internet including here:

https://twilightdawning.com/2014/10/29/good-rockers-can-never-die/

which covers his career in broad-strokes, so maybe something about my inter-action with the man.

Back in the mid-90s my agent rang me and asked me if I would be at all interested in interviewing “an old glam rocker called Alvin Stardust”(!) while he was on tour and specifically at his show in Croydon at the Fairfield Halls. What my caller didn’t realise was that when I was 9 I’d seen Mr Stardust on Top of the Pops and become convinced that he was the coolest man in the world. It was a moment that has affected me right to this very day and I guess I knew from that moment that I’d be forever “dressed in black” myself.

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Dylan in concert and a non-Jungian synchronicity that makes me smile

Last night was the first night of Bob Dylan’s tour of the Far East and Australasia.

On Friday, here and elsewhere, I published an article which argued that more care and consideration should be shown in our critiques of Dylan’s art when we considered his albums and his live performances and argued that at a very minimum we should use his written lyrics as a lexicon to try analyse who he is and what he is speaking about:

If you haven’t read it already you can see it here:

https://twilightdawning.com/2018/07/26/bob-dylan-sloppy-analysis-and-hearing-what-we-want-to-hear/

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Bob Dylan, sloppy analysis and hearing what we want to hear

Literary criticism, musical criticism and theological criticism are notoriously difficult. The reason that they are so hard is the question of subjectivity. In the early years of the 20th century, a noted conservative theologian said the following of a liberal scholar:

“The Christ that he sees, looking back through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a Liberal Protestant face, seen at the bottom of a deep well.”

It is a very clever idea but could the equal statement also be said of the more conservative thinker. We want our God to be like our theology says he should be. Otherwise we are wrong and that is hard to bear. We want our heroes to be like us. Otherwise that is burdensome.

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It Won’t Be Gone When the Morning Comes

What: Bat Out of Hell – The Musical

Who: Jim Steinman et al

Where: Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road

When: May 2018

The Bat out of Hell phenomenon dates back to the release of the Meat Loaf album of the same name in 1977. Bat out of Hell – The musical opened in Manchester, England in February of 2017 before transferring to London in June of the same year where it was housed at the Coliseum in the West End. In October 2017 it transferred to Toronto, Canada before returning to London, England and its new venue at the Dominion in April of this year.

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Rockin’ Down the Highway

Who: The Doobie Brothers

What: BluesFest 2017

Where: o2 arena, Greenwich, London

When: 29th October 2017

Well, okay, it is a rather predictable title for a Doobie Brothers live review but I’m not going to be too hard on my self. After all, the Doobie Brothers are still, after all these years, most definitely rocking and they are on their way around Europe again so there is some travelling to be done.

The last time I saw the Doobie Brothers was on the very same night (29th October) 7 years ago, when they visited my home neighbourhood of Hammersmith. Tonight, it is a bigger show and they share billing with Steely Dan which was in my estimation a sublime coupling and I wasn’t wrong in my estimate.

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