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Musings and Meanderings

Friday, June 23, 2006

Nearfest Weekend Part One

I diddled around the house for much of the morning getting things in order to go. Made sure I had enough prog in my iPod for the trip. I left my house around Noon Albany time and ran errands including picking up film and going to the bank. I was officially on the road to NJ by 1pm.

The drive down was a breeze, the only traffic being some congestion on 287 near where 80 meets, mostly slowdowns to oogle the other side (north) which was backed up pretty badly. I got to Bill and Donna's house around 4pm. They were kind enough to have chicken breasts on the BBQ (I don't eat beef) and we had a nice chat for a couple of hours. Adam Holquist showed up fairly soon after I did.

I followed Adam out from Bill and Donna's and I got to the venue in plenty of time to meet Mark Clark in the upper parking lot and get down to the seats. My seat was dead center first row Grand Tier, just next to the mounted video camera. Great seats for hearing perfectly and for taking pictures.

Tony Levin Band

The concert started out very well with an acappella piece specially written for NF. Funny and cute. Levin showed his mastery of his instruments that was very enjoyable. The set list varied considerably which was what I would expect of such a talented band. Jerry Marotta did a fine job on the Gabriel tunes, and one of the highlights for me was Tony's story and piece about playing with the Great Apes with Peter. I also enjoyed the obligatory Larry Fast piece, and the development of that piece by the rest of the band was quite excellent. I also enjoyed having Jerry come forward and play the two strange instruments: one looking like a large can of soup and the other a grouping of Ninja Throwing Stars. All in all a great performance, and considering their CV's or Resume's very apt for a Legends Showcase.

Hatfield and the North

I was a bit nervous about Hatfield. I had been listening to Hatwise on my iPod and found some of the songs I had to hit fast forward on. I knew I was not going to be able to do this in the theater obviously. Well I need not have been worried. As another reviewer said Hatfield was sublime. Hatfield showed itself to be, at least to me, almost more of an avant Jazz group than a Progressive Rock group. But where exactly is that line? I don't really care. The pieces they did were just wonderful, very complex and sometimes atonal. Watching Phil noodle on guitar was really a treat. I have found over the years it to be true that as these musicians age they just get better and better. Also just hearing Sinclair's voice pleases me, being a Caravan and Breatheless era Camel fan as well. I did get a chance to tell Sinclair what a great time I had in 79 seeing him at the San Jose Performing Arts Center with Camel during the signing. When I mentioned I even had a copy of the show he practically jumped up with excitement, and gave me his address to send it along to him.

More pictures from this great concert are here

Mike Montfort's Nearfest Photos
posted by Mike 11:51 PM


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The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind