Still Mad About You/Paul Reiser live at the Gracie Theater (with special guest Karen Morgan)

paul reiser       Time after time our nostalgic sensibility finds the path of least resistance. Not that it needs to, I believe we all have it (some more than others). In this case, and others like it if you are so blessed with the ability to truly appreciate and celebrate the past as well as the future, you can hold many candles to the wind and love all of the well written shows, films, and music that made us laugh and bring us back to a place of joy. Those were the days I guess is the phrase, but there are instances when the past rolls into the present and it ventures off into a continuation of great entertianment for today.

       Comedy is not easy, you need to stay on top of your story and bombard your audience with pellets of humor as the tale unfolds. Karen Morgan is a fine example of this method. She incorporates the benevolence of her past with today. The funny lines about how she remembers (and reconsiders) her looks, and memories of a younger time to todays path of life culminates the idea that we need to laugh at ourselves.

       Paul Reiser ventures far beyond the glory days of his past (and includes ours as well) and recalls, remembers, and recants the hilarity of comparisons deep within the boundaries of relationships. This time around…the family. The thing is, the major and minor intricacies that render us stupid are the very things that hold us together. We may be passive in some instances or even plain crazy, but the very brilliance of his comedic bantering not only brings us full circle with the general madness that makes up a relationship but outlines the severity of the word compromise. The whole thing is a compromise. And the hidden secret that Paul has revealed to us very privileged people in the audience this night is the still small voice telling us to shut up, “No, don”t say any thing, be quiet”, you know, the one we ignore that causes the majority of the conflicts that really doesn’t mean anything but is ever present in these relationships.

       The night was a pleasure, and very funny. The delivery of his message to the waiting crowd was sent forth with a briliance and mastery that has allowed him to be victorious in his craft. Relationships may be difficult at times, but with Paul’s humor we can always remember that we are still mad about each other and still mad about Paul.

The Beatles/Hey Jude

   hey jude    As great as all of the Beatle’s albums are, Hey Jude has always stood out from the rest. How can a statement like that be made about a band whose historical takeover of the music world has outlasted so much? Well, to start with it should kind of be known as the homeless hits album. A scattered group of amazing songs without a place to be all landed once upon a time in one fantastical collection. I remember how much I loved the music and even the cover. The cover? Yes, the cover. It had reached a time where our mop top matching tie and handkerchief boys had ventured into their individual idiosyncratic ideals. Big beards (bigger than “Let it Be” days), jeans, hats, and even suits (with a dashing tie I might add). But that’s enough about the cover. This overwhelming arsenal of musical invasion serves up one of the best albums of all time. The title cut “Hey Jude is a long choral accounting that even Beethoven would appreciate. If he were here he might have even stolen a few bars. This original release is a Beatle blessing. To have the albums in their original state is more than cool, its nostalgic. Earlier and latter-day hits meet up and bolster their way into an epic splendid time which is guaranteed for all.

The Beatles (the u.s. albums)

beatles boxrubber soulIt’s incredible how many new ways there are to bring the Beatles into the next generation. The only thing is, this latest way may certainly introduce the greatest band ever to a younger crowd, however, this one’s for us…those who remember them the way they originally came. These amazing American albums were how the nostalgic people had those big vinyl discs in their hands and on the turntables. Records such as the rudimentary “Meet the Beatle’s”, “Revolver”, and especially “Rubber Soul”, often referred to as the Beatle’s mystical album for various reasons are some of the one’s you’d notice a difference with. It’s true that it had been a sort of pivot point for the boys, wavering slightly from the straightforward typical love songs to a more focused concentration of ideas. Nonetheless one of their masterpieces. The soundtracks to their movies are always a thrill, as are their movies. The fun involved in making them are as apparent on record as they were on film. A true dossier of the historic Beatles…the way we remember them. The box set commemorates fifty years of the Beatle reign on the music world. This is a great way to get the albums on CD in their original state. The British versions were vastly different and took a while to get used to. We all knew “Nowhere Man” was from “The Yellow Submarine” and not mysteriously landing on “Rubber Soul”. This way we get our CD’s and listen to them too.

Daria Rabotkina/Pianist

     daria  When treading upon the giants of classical music, one must have the discipline, technique, and vigilance to encompass the delicate art of the genre. Daria Rabotkina has surpassed her excellence within the confines of this world and has managed to reach out beyond the typical mode of the classical cosmos. Her tempestuous and dramatic flair covers the keyboard unrelentingly and simply will not release it until mastery has made itself known.

       The thirty-three Beethoven variations have resurged into a metamorphic triumph in a beautiful expression in such a way that even the great Beethoven would have smiled.

       The Shubert Moments Musicaux never betray the heartfelt methodology in which they were written or intended. In fact, Daria’s renditions place her in a category all her own. Her studious investigation of the piece can only bring about one result…success.

       The recording is quite sharp and the chosen music is enthralling. A true venture of the classical realm. Brava!

Eric Clapton Guitar Festival/Crossroads (recorded live/madison square garden/new york/april12 & 13 2013) DVD

     clapton crossroads  Never has there been an all out collection of guitars in one place at the same time. An avalanche of fast and well placed finger motion donned the Garden in New York City on this momentous event. Eric Clapton and his everlasting crusade to help musicianship come back from the brink of dependency has created not only a musical lolapalooza of incredible musicians, but an honorable means of reintroduction back to where the talent can be focused upon and not displaced. These giants of the six stringed motivator have most definitely filled the evening with everything they had pent-up inside into a whirlwind performance. Some of the greats include, Robert Cray, Booker T., Jimmy Vaughan, John Mayer, Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers, and the incredulous Jeff Beck.  And every one of them (and more) have unleashed their potential on this night. These fast and frittered fingers unlock the meaning of guitar solos to those who play and those who are entertained by their playing. Perhaps they have found themselves at a crossroads…but it certainly appears they’ve taken the right way.

YES: the studio albums (1969-1987)

   yes    Other than the very first “Yes” album and “Time and a Word”, the identifiable Yes torrents of instrumental passages of time and angelic vocals have remained strong if not prominent. The first two were still at a loss for identity. Still good efforts, but somewhere I believe in search mode for where they wanted to land musically. Covers of Beatles and CSNY weren’t outside of their realm at the time. And yet upon discovering their niche they took off like a retro rocket in the outer regions of the empires of eternal void.

       The classic “Yes Album”, “Fragile”, and “Close to the Edge” are forever embedded in the sedimentary rock in which they were fashioned. “Tales from Topographic Oceans” may have been a turning point in Yesdom but the but the massive overtones still rang clearly and Anderson’s vocals remained as delicate as ever, still ravaged by Roger Dean’s mountainous aviations.

       “Relayer” has always been one of my favorites with the endearing “Gates of Delirium”. Some personnel changes brought the band close to the edge a few times but always managed to stand upright in the music world.

       Some wonderful extras as far as songs are added to enhance the albums in this delightfully adorned box set with the prevalent artwork flaunted about the perimeter.

       “Going for the One” has some great outtakes or rehearsal material and the difference in instrumental breaks are evident and satisfying, especially Steve Howe’s masterful guitar work gliding in every direction.

       When “The Buggles” Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes entered the Yes domain, many listeners were concerned over losing their signature vocal sound, but I must say, Trevor Horn’s vocalization comes right up to the mount and stands tall, not to mention Geoff Downes keyboard wizardry prevailing as well, making the “Drama” album one of their most interesting.

       The “Relayer” album featured Patrick Moraz on keyboards who splendidly filled the Yes sound having originally played with “Refugee” and his brief stint with the Moody Blues.

       An amazing package for Yes lovers who not only want all of their classic material but that dainty little box as well. Don’t live on the edge…just close to it.

Doug Nye (boom bang twang) when money failed

     scan  Hearing “Boom Bang Twang” live and unplugged (sort of) was a great raw musical experience. As much as it was only a bass and a guitar, the message was clear, and the sound was potent.

       What you get is what you hear and this album not only rocks, but it delivers an overwhelming warning to the world at large of the oncoming and ever pending loss of true existence without God at the helm of ones life.

       Having a complete band on the CD gives a different feel, like a band type session would (although live and minimal was just as powerful). Listen to the words as they pour out of experience in finding the Savior and being on the right track instead of alone. This is no typical Christian collection. It moves you musically as well as lyrically. The packaging is unique as well. These guys are most serious about leaving the uncharted map of life behind as they profess the position the world is in today and the soul cages that keep us locked away from a real life.

       Give a listen and learn. You’ll see that where money fails, Jesus doesn’t.