A few years ago Aimee and I travelled to India for the wedding of one of my coworkers. We had the privilege of taking part in one of the wedding traditions known as a Barat.
Dictionaries will tell you that a barat is a procession lead by the groom with his relatives and friends to the place of the wedding ceremony. It involves musicians, dancing and general celebration as the wedding party makes their way through the streets.
What I will tell you is that listening to this recording of some of the procession even today reminds me what a delightful experience we had at the wedding and taking part in the barat. Enjoy nine minutes of what was more than an hour long experience. The musicians mingled with the people in an ever-changing flowing arrangement of people. One minute you were near the front of the group, the next the back. One second a drum is beating just inches from your head, the next a horn. I’ve long wondered what it was like to be part of a marching band. Now I know.
To fully appreciate the humor here, being a reader of the Packers blog on the JS Online web site helps but I found this little tune kind of funny. The lyrics are filled with references to excuses for the poor Packer play this year taken from press conferences after most of the losses. Listen after the song ends for “Osseo”, a Wisconsinized version of the Beach Boys’ tune “Kokomo”.
While eating dinner this evening, the advertising industry displayed the omnipresent need to put snippets of famous music into a commercial to sell whatever the latest it is they think we must absolutely have. Even a couple hours later the product itself escapes me but I’m struck by the sad touch of irony the experience represents.
The commercial used some music from Boston and I remarked to Aimee that as a band they had to be near the top in terms of getting the most mileage from the least music released. Make no mistake, the unique guitar sound and vocals of the band puts Boston near the top of my list of favorites. Classic rock radio, as with many of the greats, certainly overplays the band’s music but for me it doesn’t diminish the pure enjoyment of kicking back and listening to those first two albums from the group.
We continued our discussion about bands that made the most with the least music for a bit and then went back to the early days of MTV with a DVD of several music videos from the 1980s. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I decided to play a bit of Boston when we were done.
It was then that Aimee happened to look on her computer and shared the news that Brad Delp, Boston’s lead singer, had died earlier in the day.
I was fortunate to see Boston once live in concert back in 1986 I think at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin. That show still ranks in the top five for the best live concerts I’ve attended. As a bit of irony Aimee and I, who certainly didn’t know each other back then, discovered we both attended the same Boston show.
Aimee’s been a long time Frank Zappa fan. Not so for me. Quite honestly I’ve never really had much exposure to Frank’s music beyond the times Aimee’s playing it. Even then I guess I tend to notice only the more humorous lines and tunes from his work.
Tonight we went to the Zappa Plays Zappa show at the Paramount theater. Dweezil Zappa is taking his father’s music on the road in this show–both trying to give something back to existing fans and expose a younger audience to Frank’s music.
Initially I thought this would be one of those experiences that one tolerates but wasn’t really expecting much. I was more than pleasantly surprised.
Writing any kind of formal review would be impossible for me. My lack of familiarity with the Zappa catalog for starters would make it all but impossible for me to describe something as simple as the set list.
Still, as a music fan who enjoys a reasonably wide range of music, I have to say that this was one of the most entertaining 200 minutes I’ve spent in a concert venue. There wasn’t a single time during the more than three hours of constant music I felt like leaving.
The musicianship on display alone was worth the price of admission. Sure it was rock so it was loud but it was top shelf quality through and through.
And in some ways it isn’t fully accurate to say this was rock. Zappa’s music is really a mixture of genres that includes jazz, pop, rock, classical and more. There’s often a rich musical texture behind the main thrust of any song.
In an article about the show, the rehearsals for this show are described as a “musical boot camp”. Practice definitely made perfect in this case as this was one of the tightest groups of musicians I’ve ever heard. Solo performances by Zappa tour veterans Steve Vai (guitar) and Terry Bozzio (drums) were simply breath taking.
Bozzio did about 10 minutes alone in the middle of a tune that ran through multiple rhythms and ranged from some of the loudest drumming I’ve heard to a soft section that was so quiet you could hear the heat circulation system in the hall. The solo cranked back up like some kind of charge off to war. Incredible is the best way to describe it.
Good live music is something special. The music reaches out and touches you physically. It surrounds you and reaches into the depth of your being. Tonight’s concert was a definite treat and one I’d recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to see this tour now or in the future. Dweezil’s trying to establish something more permanent with this grass roots movement to expose his father’s music to newer audiences.