‘Replicate of Band Says a Remote Yes to Nostalgia’
Re Mike Boehm’s review of the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre (“Replicate of Band Says a Remote, Pat Yes to Nostalgia,” Calendar Sept. 7):
As an attendee of Wednesday’s Greek Theatre show, I would like to (discuss) his comments, “note-for-note renditions of originals” and “the band forgot that a concert should have a bit of human touch, a stroke of immediacy that says a moment is being lived, not relived.”
Several compositions were reworked and rearranged into medleys; some songs were expanded by the introduction of whole new melodic, instrumental, even vocal sections, and I was pleasantly surprised theatrically as well.
At the beginning of the concert, Jon Anderson walked down the main right aisle toward the stage (something fresh and unexpected) singing an acoustic rendition of “Time and a Word.” With ingenious, gradually increasing (volume), each (musician) briefly soloed on a couple of his instrumental compositions that were part of the group’s repertoire when it was last together, all of 16-plus years ago. This heightened my awareness of each member’s contribution to that group and increased my anticipation as to how dynamic the interaction would be.
I didn’t have to wait very long. ABWH launched into mostly old songs in the first half of the show. Some new wrinkles: the expanded instrumental intro to “Long Distance Runaround” and the glorious flourish of driving melody at the end of “I’ve Seen All Good People.” The second half opened with “Close to the Edge” but finally brought out the most dynamic cuts from the (new) ABHW album.
The pacing was rewarding (moving from “Brother of Mine” to “The Meeting” to “Order of the Universe”). Even the predictable encore, “Starship Trooper,” was given a healthy injection of difference through the interpolation of short vocal sections from the “Relayer” and “Tales From the Topographic Oceans” albums (“Soon” and “Nous Somme Du Soleis,” respectively).
These aspects made the show fresher for this longtime fan. The band members were in top form, introducing an invigorating menu of new group compositions that highlight various dynamics the ABWH combination produces.
I look forward to seeing other incarnations of (this band) in as many combinations as (its members) desire, as long as they keep leader Anderson’s valuable artistic credo: Always create and explore music’s possibilities to make you feel alive and positive.