Friday, April 7, 2006

Oh what a musical week! (Part One)

The last seven days have probably been one of my most music filled weeks in I have ever had.

Last Thursday (30th March) I went to see Thin Lizzy at Hammersmith Apollo. I use the term Thin Lizzy with some reservations. They were my all time favourite band, I saw them first when I was about 15 and then saw them live about 6 times before their charismatic frontman Philip Lynott died a drug related death about 20 years ago. Their original drummer, Brian Downey, is an all time hero of mine and was one of the people that made me want to play the drums.

The current band consists of none of the original members. One of the guitarists, Scott Gorham, was in the band for about 10 years and the other guitarist joined for their final tour. The drummer and bassist, although excellent players, were never in Thin Lizzy in the band's heyday.

So the Thin Lizzy that I saw last week was a bit of a fake compared to the genuine article.

The drummer, Michael Lee, is a well known session player here who has played with many top artistes. He was outstanding. When he played Brian Downey's drum parts I don't think that he entirely captured the feel but there aren't many drummers who could have done so.

He did succeed in doing the songs justice and, when he played in his own style, which was a bit more straight ahead rock, he was totally impressive. I would rather have seen Brian Downey but Michael Lee was a good alternative.

The bassist was another well known journeyman called Marco Mendoza. He made me laugh. As a musician he was just what was needed, he didn't intrude and he played the parts true to the originals. So, as a musician, he was good.

He was dressed all in black (quite probably black leather but I was too far away to tell), he had long black hair a la Alice Cooper and his actions and body language were just a bit too "rock 'n' roll" to be taken seriously. When I was an 18 year old, if I had been a girl with limited intelligence, if I was quite desperate and if I had been a total groupie I may have had about half a nanosecond's worth of interest in him. Now that I am 40, a bloke, with a business, a family and all the other stuff that I am lucky enough to have, he just didn't quite do it for me.

There was a row of Marshall guitar amps just in front of the drum riser, they must have been about 1 meter high. At one point I saw him walk towards them and lift his left leg onto the top of one, whilst playing his bass. There were about 4000 people in the venue but I felt as if this was a private moment shared between Marco and myself. He played for about 10 seconds with his left foot resting up on the amp. He was aiming for that "Rock God" look but he had clearly not judged the distance correctly and looked uncomfortable and rather pained.
He casually lowered his left leg back to ground level, making sure that none of the 4000 strong audience noticed the look of sheer agony on his face. I think he may have pulled a hamstring, but Marshall amps, cowboy boots and bassists in their 40's or maybe even 50's can probably cause any number of injuries. He then carried on playing, blissfully unaware that I had seen the whole saga and would narrate it on my blog. I expected him to summon a medic, or perhaps a groupie, to rush on stage mid song and administer either first aid or oral sex, but nothing happened.

But - they were great! I thoroughly enjoyed the gig. They played all their old well known songs, the standard of musicianship was top class, and I was instantly transported back to my youth. It would be fair to say that the audience consisted largely of my age group, I guess most of us had been there 20 or so years before. This time round we had less hair, more stress and more weight.

Then, on Sunday night, Mimosa, my funk band, had our last rehearsal before our debut gig onTuesday. The rehearsal was a medium one. We ironed out some things that were a bit creased and decided where and when to meet on Tuesday.

Tuesday was gig night. I was as nervous as a very nervous person on Monday but by gig day I was calm and had my usual feeling of "I wish I didn't have to wait, I just want to start". It has become my normal pre gig mental state. Not a nervous one, not scared, just a state of impatience.

We got to the venue, set up and soundchecked, listen to the two other bands soundcheck and then started our long wait.

to be continued.....

No comments: