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Archive for the ‘Radio City Music Hall’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 21, 2019] King Crimson

It is hard to believe that it has been almost two years since I last saw King Crimson, because I feels like it was just a few months ago.

This was my fourth time seeing them in five years.  As I said last time, who knows when Robert Fripp is going to decide to end this iteration, so if they come to town, I’m going to see them.  In fact, I had a ticket for Monday night’s show in Philly as well but I decided not to go because I had been to a show Friday and now Saturday and I had four more shows lined up later in the week (seven shows in nine days is a lot, even for me).

This time I went with my friend Bill.  He drove us into the city for which I was thankful.  He told me he usually just looks for street parking but because he didn’t want to be late he booked a garage.  That proved to be a huge mistake because everyone who didn’t live in NYC also booked that garage and there were only two attendants.  We waited for 45 minutes for our car (which meant I got home at 2AM!).  This was Bill’s first time seeing King Crimson.

He was very impressed.  Of course.

This time the band was back down to a seven piece.  I’m not sure what happened to the eighth member.  It was going to be Bill Rieflin again and then he took a sabbatical and was replaced by Theo Travis.  But apparently he was not included on this tour “when the band opted not to have musicians deputising for Rieflin again.”

Even though these shows have a base of similar songs and players, each tour (and each tour date) has mixed it up somewhat.  So out of the eighteen songs they played that night, I hadn’t seen 5 of them.  That’s a pretty great evolution.   And honestly, the songs I’ve heard more than once (some every time) I’m more than happy to hear again and again.

The last time I saw them I wrote

after they tour Europe, if they came back I would see them again no question.  This time maybe from the front of the balcony for a whole new perspective.

Following my own advice, I scored front row balcony seats to this show, and they were really spectacular.  The band sounded great and it was easy to see what everyone was doing (where to look is a perennial problem).  [My seats in Philly were also exciting–stage left in a balcony box, staring right at Fripp–I’ll definitely try to get them again if they come around in 2020). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 16, 2017] Sigur Rós

Sarah and I saw Sigur Rós last fall. We both agreed that it was an incredible show.  So when I saw that they were coming back around and playing at the Mann Center, it was hard to pass up the chance to see them again.

It was ostensibly  the same tour, except that it was not exactly the same tour, and not exactly the same show.

It was still just the trio of jón þór birgisson (jonsi), georg holm, and orri páll dýrason and like last time, Jonsi was on vocals and (violin bowed) guitar, Georg was on bass (and more) and Orri was on drums and keyboards.  But they shifted around, with each of them playing other things during the show.

About the previous show I said

The show was perfectly orchestrated with a spectacular light show.  It was arranged into two acts with a 15 minute intermission.  I have often complained about bands who don’t change their set list from night to night but there is no way they could change this–the precision of everything, the complexity of the lights and music–this was more of a stage show than a concert.

Well, they did change things up a bit for this series of shows.  It was actually a little shorter with two fewer songs.

But the big distinction is that there were two new new songs.  In addition to the new songs they played last time, they added two more new ones.

About the previous show I also said:

As soon as the band started playing and Jonsi started singing, I was rapt–Totally caught up in the music which sounded amazing in Radio City Music Hall. It feels like they have speakers all over the room, their sound and which simply envelops the audience.  I usually like to take some pictures of exciting moments of shows but I didn’t even touch my phone during the show–I was absorbed from the first notes.

(more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 5, 2016] Sigur Rós

2016-10-05-20-25-57I saw Sigur Rós play live fifteen years ago.  It was their first world tour and one of their first shows in the U.S.  And it was magical.  It is one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever seen.  For some reason I’ve never looked into seeing them again.  Until this time.  Some six tours later, Sigur Rós decided to strip down from a multi-piece band with orchestra (when I saw them they had some extra players but not a full orchestra) to just a trio: jón þór birgisson (jonsi), georg holm, and orri páll dýrason.

I never feared that the three of them wouldn’t be able to recreate the beautiful sounds, but it wasn’t until they were playing that I realized that all of that music–that expansive, enveloping sound, was coming from just those three guys–and I have no idea how they did it.

For the most part, Jonsi was on vocals and (violin bowed) guitar, Georg was on bass (and more) and Orri was on drums and keyboards.  But they shifted around, with each of them playing other things during the show.

The show was perfectly orchestrated with a spectacular light show.  It was arranged into two acts with a 15 minute intermission.  I have often complained about bands who don’t change their set list from night to night but there is no way they could change this–the precision of everything, the complexity of the lights and music–this was more of a stage show than a concert.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 10, 2015] Belle and Sebastian

2015-06-10 23.11.13After the major hassle of getting into the city we at least had plenty of time for Belle and Sebastian (which meant plenty of time to take pictures of the awesome art deco structures and sculptures and paintings in Radio City Music Hall).  It’s an amazing theater.

We bought the tickets in April.  Then about two weeks ago we weren’t sure if we could go.  Then we realized we could.  And then three days ago, we had a miscommunication with our babysitter and thought we again couldn’t go.  So we tried to sell them to friends.  But thankfully no one took us up on it because our plans went as planned and we made it.

I had seen Belle and Sebastian back in 2002 with my friend Ailish.  Although my memories of the show aren’t the greatest because the crowd was so overwhelming (B&S were an “it band” at the time).  This was much more civilized.  And high tech!

Back in 2002, B&S were kind of mellow folksingers.  Some of their breakthrough If You’re Feeling Sisnister was bouncy and jaunty (and some was actually quite rocking), but the vibe was shushed and personal.  Well, thirteen years later, they are a huge band with horns and strings and dancers and a cool video screen and a ton of charm.  Just the fact that lead singer Stuart Murdoch ran around high-fiving everyone in the front row, and then later ran through the aisles singing is testament to how much more extroverted the band has become.

And Stuart and lead guitarist Stevie Jackson had a lot of amusing banter going on up there.  There was a lengthy one about walking around Broadway

Stevie: “I was walking down Broadway earlier today, singing to myself…”
Stuart: “Oh, and what were you singing Stevie?”
Stevie: “It was Guys and Dolls.
Stuart: “Oh, which part?”
Stevie belted out (very nicely) a line from the musical Stevie said he was a rocker who liked musicals.  and then Stuart said he was singing “Feelin’ Groovy.”  That’s when we learned that the trumpeter has played with Paul. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 10, 2015] Real Estate

2015-06-10 20.21.42We ordered tickets for Belle and Sebastian months and months ago (probably back in April before Sarah’s birthday).  We had no idea a) they would be playing in Philly as well and b) who the opening act would be.

In Philly the opener was Lucius, a band I like a bit, and who are quite dancey.  But at Radio City, the opener was Real Estate, a jangly pop band who I like better.

Real Estate’s previous album was selected on many 2011 best of lists.  Their new album I think may not be quite as catchy, but it has the same summery vibe.  (And the cover of the new album, Atlas, features Stefan Knapp’s mural that was on Alexander’s department store in Paramus–Real Estate are from Ridgewood, New Jersey, you see). (more…)

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