End of the Year Riffs
2011 is coming to an end rather quickly, as every year seems to. For me, it was a great time for writing and production, but a really lackluster year for new music experiences. I was happy to get a quick pick me up at the end of November and early Decemeber, when I had a chance to see a pair of performances that don’t come around every day. The best thing is, they both happened within two weeks of each other.
Daniel Lanois has an interesting reputation. He’s an accomplished vocalist and musician but is also known as one of the best music producers in the business. I read about him a few times based on records he’s put together with guys like Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, and Brian Eno. But one night, a few years back, I was driving home and a new song of his came on KCRW. I was immediately hooked:
Lanois’ guitar work and arrangements are truly unique and I happened to hear he was performing in L.A. just in time. The show took place in a lower profile, intimate space in Hollywood that really worked for the selections Lanois came to play with. Like a good producer, he let a younger musician take front stage, which in this case was Rocco DeLuca, some dude I had never heard of before. DeLuca intoxicated the audience immediately with a fragile, yet intense blend of guitar riffs and vocals. Together, DeLuca and Lanois left the crowd eagerly wanting more. So watch out for this duo because they’re still out there touring.
To save the best for last, the true highlight this year was then seeing Sting live for the first time in over 10 years. I’ve never been shy to admit that his music has always had a powerful effect on me. However, since it has been so long since he ‘s released a truly original album, I figured he may have lost his edge. But I was wrong. This performance reminded me just how creative and talented he still is. Working the crowd almost effortlessly, his new band and vocal group brought his music to exciting new places. He did the fans justice to play some of his lesser known songs and mix in just enough of the must-play classics.
One piece I never really appreciated until I saw it live was Inside. It’s one of his more recent tracks and the lyric contents really hit me when he sang them live. So I’ll just leave you with that song, if you want to give it a listen, with a snippet of the lyrics:
“Radiate me, subjugate me, incubate me, recreate me, demarcate me, educate me, punctuate me, evaluate me, conjugate me, impregnate me, designate me, humiliate me, segregate me, opiate me, calibrate me, replicate me…”