Thursday, October 02, 2008

Feeling GREAT! bzzzzzz

What a nice surprise - Greg High called today and invited me to come do his gig at Dailey's downtown tonight. Playing with Greg is always treat enough, but we were also joined by Sean O'Rourke and Spencer Kirkpatrick, so this was a night to remember. The song choices went all the way from the usual Van Morrison and SRV covers to much more unusual territory. I used my Variax's tricks to give "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" a banjo (which Spencer ripped up with traditional bluegrass and Nashville guitar chops), and a nice sitar for "Norwegian Wood". We got multiple requests for Jeff Beck (helzyeah!) so we did "Know What I Mean" and "Ended As Lovers". We hit a way uptempo version of "Moondance", and something else we did somehow morphed into Weather Report's "Birdland" except it was a bit confusing because we were in A instead of G at the time. Santana's "Oye Como Va" was a big crowd pleaser - Sean got a whole lotta Latin out of his drums, sounded like a whole barrio full of percussionists and my tone was, to me at least, exactly what I hoped for which brought out the best of my playing. Later, when we also did "Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen", Sean did even more - I mean, DA-yum! When I cut him loose on the hogwild percussion section at the end, he was so complex and energetic and amazing that I could only hang on with Greg the best I could on our unison line and hope that I was on the beat I intended, because I was lost and not hearing anything I could pin down. Sean was like some multi-armed Hindu god. I was in way over my head. But when it was time to come out, everyone hit everything hit precisely where it was supposed to be, and sounded massive! Wow!

There was so much more - the "Secret Agent" medley, "Higher Ground", "No Matter What" and other fun & unusual diversions. My absolute favorite though, and I only ever get to do this with Greg, was when he asked me to do Deep Purple's "Highway Star". OK, if you're sure... We started together and, as it had been all night, sounded like a band that had been together for years. My voice felt strong, I liked my tone, and Spencer knew all of his parts too. I had that rascal pegged as a Nashville type, but he knows his rock. DAMN that felt good! If you haven't heard "Highway Star" lately, crank it up and imagine it with modern tones. It rocked the world in 1971, and it sounds even better with today's guitar tones. There were a bunch of Germans there (Dailey's is largely patronized by conventioneers) and they absolutely loved it. (Deep Purple are like gods to the Germans, maybe even more than David Hasselhoff).

Greg has played with me a few dozen times, and knows my material and mannerisms. He's a master on bass, and I think he kicks my ass on guitar too but he denies it. Sean is bigtime (toured with Sugarland for three years, been featured in Modern Drummer Magazine five times). I've only played with Sean a couple other times - a half night I sat in with him and Tak Nakazawa on Kathy Carllile's show at Fuzzy's, and a tasty but sedate New Orleans style jazz brunch with Greg Barrett at Copelands, so this is the first time he's really worked with *me*. And work he did. But the real gem of this show, to me, was Spencer - I'd never heard of him, we barely met, then started playing, and he was stuck to me like glue all night, never missing a thing that I could tell, even on my originals. We will meet again.

All in all, a night to remember. So I'm writing all this not just to share with you, but so that months or years from now I can read back over it and feel like this again. Tired, exhilarated, victorious. It should've been in front of thousands of fans.

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