Tuesday, June 16, 2009
It was painful to watch him apologize. Paraphrasing.." I'm sorry you people didn't get the joke ..and tried to read a lot more into it than I meant. I'm sorry you heard 'rape' when I said 'knocked-up'. I'm sorry to be the root of all sexual perversion aimed at young women."
It really scares the shit out of me that a person who actually ran for vice president in this country believes that we have we have men and women in uniform right now fighting to secure our right to free speech. Hey lady, that right is secure and in place! Has been for a long time. People like you and Mr. B have been the biggest threat to it that we have we have seen in generations.
We have nothing to fear from Mr. Letterman.......Calvin Klein, on the other hand....................
Saturday, June 13, 2009
The opener, David Zollo did a fine job. I'm not familiar with the guy and apparently he has been touring off and on with Snider for quite a long time. As I've whined before though , Todd doesn't come to Boston too often so hey...their bad. He played a good set , barefoot like Todd, with a lot of personal songs.
Todd came out to hoots and hollers and gave us the show we had all been waiting for. He played quite a few songs from his new and terrific CD, The Excitement Plan, always asking for our patience in hearing new stuff. It's a great CD and I predict that "Bring Em Home" will get the radio play here that many of his songs have deserved but not won. Radio sucks but that's a post for another day. I've never been able to do a song by song recount of shows I've been to. It always impresses me when people do. I would have to take notes; between balancing my beer and clapping my hands it would be a disaster. So lets just say he covered a lot of ground. Notanseladams shouted out for "DB Cooper" and was rewarded immediately.
He seemed genuinely happy when the crowd sang along to most of the songs. He smiled and laughed throughout the night. Notable as sing-alongs were Beer Run , Allright Guy, Easy Money and Side Show Blues. Maybe that will convince him that Boston is a market worth returning to. He brought David Zollo back out to accompany him for most of the show and it worked well having a keyboard added to his guitar. The show ended far too soon. There were a lot of songs left unplayed and we could have listened for a lot longer.
That's not to say we didn't get our money's worth. I've payed almost as much to see Al Pacino chew the shit out of the scenery in a crappy movie. And the beer was cheaper than a box of popcorn.
Todd has said, "My hope is to be hard to describe and/or new...I'm not saying I am. I'm just saying that's the hope."
Mission accomplished. His delivery is like no other's. His songs are a unique combination of wit, compassion, anger, joy, and sadness. He doesn't reference Jesus as often as his ealier music but you can still feel his attempt at "goodness". His on-stage story telling is Mark Twainish-cum-Carl Hiaasen. In fact he could be compared to Warren Zevon in some ways. Zevon was as clever and could turn a phrase as easily as Snider. Where Snider could knock him out with a secret boxing trick is with stage presence. Zevon was always a joy to watch and the many times I saw him perform he always gave a good show. His between song banter was dry and self-conscious. The laughs often counted on us ,the audience , not quite getting the joke but laughing any way. Even though he most often played in intimate settings there was a distance between him and the audience. With Todd we feel like we are with a guy like us. He's telling us a story and he wants us to see what he sees. He's really sharing with us when he's on stage. We appreciate it.
Back to the seats. I don't mind sitting in a theater show. Infact;" down in front, asshole!". But a bar show really gives you the freedom to move around and I missed that.
The staff at the Paradise was great. No arrogance or "I'm the big-shot here" behavior. The doors were handled well and the bar staff , as always, were good. I wouldn't mind a rehab of the bathrooms but if it meant changing the mien of the place, I'll do without.
Had to buy a Tshirt. When was the last time you saw a Twenty dollar Tshirt at a show? And they came in real-people sizes, too. Not those American Apparell pieces of thread that make me want to scream , with Elephant Man-like passion, "I am not a waif !!" For twenty bucks I got screen printing on the front and back. I'm advertising for you coming and going ,Todd.
Get the CD. Go to a show. Peace, Love and Anarchy to you all.
Monday, June 8, 2009
There hasn't been a disapointing CD from him since. There is a whole lot of humor well mixed with some sensitive and touching songs and a little bit of politics with a lot of biographical stories thrown in. It's over simplifying to call him Folk/Rock but tha's the slot he most fits in.
If I can only talk you into buying one Todd Snider Cd then make it Near Truths and Hotel Rooms. This is a live Cd that shows him at his best. Todd is one of those very few musicians who is as entertaining when he is talking as when he is singing. And he talks a lot. I've heard this CD a whole lotta times and I've never become tired of it. You get so you talk-along as much as you sing-along. His stories are entertaining , true or not.
He's making a rare appearance in Boston next week. He's touring in support of his latest CD The Excitement Plan. I don't know if he's touring with a band this time. Warren Zevon, who we never missed when he was in town , didn't always tour with a band. While it was still a treat every time , the times he had a band behind him were extra special. Last time we saw Todd Snider he took the stage by himself as the opening act for Don Was at Johnny D's in Somerville. He was on for a very short time..about a half hour ..but he packed a lot of entertainment onto that tiny stage. He'll be at the Paradise on June 12th. We'll be there with a gang of people, young and old. If you aren't in the Boston area go here to see if he'll be performing around you. You're denying yourself something really wonderful if you don't. I hope you are all lucky enough to get a chance to see him.
Just a laugh here. When we saw Todd at Johnny D's we got the chance to talk and have a drink with him. Just as charming as I would have hoped and expected. He left a message on A's cell phone. She was at school studying for finals and was so disapointed that she couldn't come home to see him. The message was cute and funny. Then my husband, Notanseladams snapped this lovely picture to document the meeting . Yep...that's what I got.
I don't think I have the words to describe the show we saw on Saturday night. Sublime..Sensational..Exceptional...Transcendant...All expectations were met AND exceeded. From the moment he appeared on stage he was musical perfection. I knew I would love the show ; just seeing him ,the legend, would be enough. The performance by Mr. Cohen , his back-up singers and his band was more than I ever could have wished for. They were rehearsed to within a breath in the show.......but it didn't come across as phony. The band , who L.Cohen tipped his hat to often, was so tight I don't think there was a single missed note in the entire three plus hours they played.
He was very gracious and often acknowledged the contributions of the band and singers , as well as the additional contributions of Sharon Robinson,one of the back up singers, as long time collaborator on several songs. He gave over the singing duties to Ms. Robinson on Boogie Street and to the Webb sisters (the other two back up singers) on If It Be Your Will. Both songs were delivered impeccably and it was impossible to feel cheated that Mr. Cohen didn't lend voice to them. He held his hat to his heart during each of these performances as well as during every solo delivered by members of the band.
Did I mention the lighting? I'm telling you ,not a detail was left out.The lighting , along with the sheer curtains that hung from the ceiling created a visual mood to work beautifully with the music. The beauty of the lighting was profound during the choruses of Hallelujah when the normally subtle , bluish light became bright white light that bathed the entire stage as if...as if...okay I can't say it but you can imagine! With any other song that light would seem harsh but with this it was glorious. I was not the only one who actually gasped.
It was an evening of beautiful music, interrupted only by a 15 minute intermission. He didn't talk a lot and each time he did there was not a wasted word. He introduced the band no less than three times ; I sometimes find this a little indulgent and grandiose but Mr. Cohen gave the introductions with such grace and respect it was very easy to take. At one point the 74 year old Cohen mentioned that it had been about 14 years since his last appearance in Boston..."I was 60 then. Just a kid with a crazy dream!"
We go to many live music shows. I love a huge variety of music....always have. Over many years I have been to hundreds of shows. Nothing has ever come close to this. At the end of the show, with the entire band at the front of the stage with him, he acknowledged the crew, the dressers,(someone has to take care of the ubiquitous fedoras), the bus drivers , everyone involved in the tour. At the end of the "thank-you's" he added one more. He thanked the audience and with a sincerity I believed, he said," We will always remember this night" I will always remember this night.....I hope this tour has made Leonard Cohen want to be out there with his fans and that he will return to the road again....saving retirement for the distant future. He is a gracious gentleman. Thank you, Leonard Cohen!!!
It would be wrong not to say a few words about the venue. The CitiWang ,formerly known as just the Wang, is a beautifully restored theater. In the seventies it was known as the Music Hall and I saw many ,many acts there. It was a run-down beauty then...well worn ,with shadows of it's glory days peeking through. The restoration took many years and many dollars to complete. It is now certainly one of the most beautiful spaces Boston has to offer. Marble and gold, glowing light and soaring balconies.Chandeliers too many for me to count...two giant chandeliers hang from the
stunningly painted ceiling in the grand foyer as if from red velvet ribbons alone.
The seats, of course, are not perfect. My husband , at 6'3" was a little cramped but my 5"5" was very comfortable. Getting in and out can't be done without having others in the row stand up. The seats are forgivable though with perfect acoustics and lovely, yet sometimes distant, views.
The further seats soar in height but somehow the view is still perfect. When my daughter was six we went to her first ballet, Swan Lake , at the Wang. When we approached our seats I was a little nervous that she would be bored sitting so far away from the stage. We were second to the last row, second balcony. When the dancers started she gasped...looked at me with wonder...and said, almost breathless,"Ohhhhh, Mama..look at the tiny people!" It was wonderful.
We started the afternoon with lunch at Miracle of Science. It's a nice little bar/restaraunt in Cambridge..very near MIT. (Hence the name.) The menu is written on the wall in a Periodic Table of Elements chart. The bar and tables are made from old soapstone lab tables.We shared a hummus plate that was delicious and I had a salad while my niece and B had chicken salad and a burger.
You must have heard about the infamous theft ,including a Rembrandt and a Vermeer, that have never been recovered. The frames still hang empty in the galleries. Mrs. Stewart left an iron-clad will that stated that nothing should ever change ....no additions or subtractions.
We went from the sublime to the rocking. Yup..that was way too corny.Lucero put on a great show and played for a very long time. Over the years we've many shows at the Paradise. B and I were pretty young when it opened. I'm certain we were at one of the first shows ever there....Andy Pratt and Carla Bonoff. Wow...how old am I? I stayed up way too late but had a terrific time. It makes me really happy that these kids are still willing to spend time with me.
I loved this movie. It tells the story , in flashback , of Jan Dite's rise and fall and reflection starting at his release from prison. (After serving 14 years and nine months of a 15 year sentence...good behavior, you know.) We are told in voice-over that the diminutive Dite's life's ambition is to be a millionaire. It's a serious story told in slap-stick style.
In the 1930's , in Prague, young Dite starts out selling hot dogs at a train station. There he comes in contact with Walden, a Jewish businessman, who will turn up briefly several times in the movie and will become somewhat of a mentor to Dite. He will see him again at a train station in an entirely different context. Dite's rise takes him from hot-dog vendor to busboy, waiter to Head Waiter,and eventually millionaire Hotelier. There are some dips in the rise and an eventual fall.
Dite has much luck with women in spite of his tiny size. The decadence of the time and place is shown in generous proportions through beautiful women being used as playthings and the indulgences in food and potables for the rich.
The photography is beautiful throughout. Whether we are in a brothel or a bar, a restaurant or a hotel the interiors are lush and gorgeous.The camera leaves out nothing and for those of us who love decoration and design it is an unending treat. The food preparation and service are treated with the same care. The dinners and banquets depicted in the movie are a delight to behold. I've always heard that Prague is a beautiful city and it is higher on my list of must-sees after this movie.
The beautiful photography is reason enough to see this movie but there is more.
Dite's ambition makes him selfish and blind to what is going on around him. At the beginning of the war Dite has become Head Waiter at a posh hotel restaurant. There he has another mentor, Skrivanek, the M'aitreD. As the German's move in he does not join the resistance but becomes a sympathiser due only to the fact he falls in love with a woman his size.
There is a brief but profound scene where the happy hustle and bustle of the dining room merges seamlessly with the joyless room after the German Occupation.
Dite betrays,in different ways, both his mentors. His eventual riches come from the suffering of others. Though this terrible time is treated lightly in the movie I think it is because the camera and script shines completely through Dite's eyes and mind and does not try to make us feel anything. We are merely presented with Dite's view of life. There are times when Dite has a tiny twinge of conscience and it is presented as just that; a twinge.
A still oblivious, but rich Dite is imprisoned after the Commmunists take over. It is his post-imprisonment time that finally causes him to reflect (both literally and figurativelly).
Be aware that there is nudity and some scenes of sexuality, though not graphic.
In Czech with English subtitles.