6/14/2008

Singing Just For Me

Friday the 13th turned out to be quite lucky for me. I added another entry to my book of dreams by seeing Laurie Anderson in her Homeland show, part of this year's Luminato Festival.

From the time I was introduced to her opus United States by a university radio pal, I'd wanted to see her perform live but somehow, never managed it. This time, I was at the ready and secured 3rd row seats where there was little to distract me. I won't even mention the girl beside me who slept soundly through most of the show, apparently tired from having spent the first few songs making out with her boyfriend.

I'd read that Homeland was built around themes of fear, obsession and paranoia in America post 9/11 and was a little apprehensive. Would it be too dark and dire? Too like my heart? Could I bear it? I worried needlessly.

In and among the serious and reflective was a lot of humour, artistry and deft commentary. Aim was taken at Al Gore's trophy case, Oprah's couch, John McCain and several other worthy targets. She also ruminated on a variety of subjects from the beginning of memory to billboard underwear models and set it all to compelling music.

There were bursts of pounding energy and moments made for closing your eyes and feeling the universe expand (without the need for medication). There were songs and stories, some in Laurie's own voice and some run through her voice enhancer which provided surprising nuance. Sitting in with the accomplished band (percussionist Joey Baron, keyboard wiz Rob Burger and bassist Greg Cohen) for the last few numbers was none other than the legendary Lou Reed. It was a real treat to see and hear him play along and sing.

The set was simple with a few bare bulbs hanging and scores of small white candles arranged around the stage. While wrapped in Ms. Anderson's warm electronic embrace, I took them to be planets and stars (perhaps the need for medication?).

Although the show was conceived as one continuous piece, ovations and praise found their way in whenever possible. While it would have been wonderful to have an encore, I felt the integrity of the piece was better maintained without it. Watching the players carefully tiptoe through the array of candles for three bows was an end fitting enough for me.

Apart from the thrill of seeing and enjoying the show so much, the people-watching was of course exquisite. Rarely have I seen so many inflicting so much very personal style on the rest of us. I'll just call them Strange Angels and be done with it.

Thank you Laurie Anderson for a most excellent evening and I hope to see you again soon.

21 comments:

John Mutford said...

On Friday the 13th, we performed the Shakespeare play that shall not be named. Looking for a double dose of bad luck, I guess. Instead the bad lucks canceled one another out and the show went off pretty decent. Not as impressive as the Homeland show I'm sure.

Chris said...

I'm not hip to this Anderson lady of the Lauri type to which you refer, but that was the most thoughtful review I've read in quite some time! I'm gonna have to look her up.

Gifted Typist said...

And thank you Dale, for a most excellent review.

Suze's Sass said...

Great review. I wish I could be part of the back up band. I've finished the easy level on Rock Band AND Guitar Hero.

Dale said...

I admire anyone who's involved in creating art John. I'm sure the play was excellent and must have been great to be a part of.

There's quite a few videos on YouTube Chris which will either make you think 'oh, how interesting' or 'what a load of ...'

You're welcome GT, I notice that I rarely review the actual music but more the way it makes me feel. Oh, there's a song in there somewhere.

You just want to get close to Mr. Laurie Anderson don't you Suze? Keep rocking!

Cap'n Ergo Jinglebollocks said...

::sigh:: I've not seen Anderson in... 15 years??

It's all comin' back to mee... I"m gonna put on "Big Science" just to reminisce

BeckEye said...

I always knew you were a weirdo. The Laurie Anderson love clinches it.

pistols at dawn said...

You totally have a crush. Also, in the U.S., we celebrate Friday the 13th by watching one of the many documentaries of the same name that teach us to never go to Camp Crystal Lake.

onewaybanter said...

yay for luminato!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I didn't even realize that Laurie Anderson was still performing. You do make it sound like a fabulous show - great review. And Lou Reed? Wow!

Melinda June said...

Did she wear a sweater? What color was it?

What a cool show. She rocks.

FranIAm said...

Oh I have long loved Laurie.

This sounds amazing, so amazing.

WTF was I thinking by not seeing her in NYC in the mid 80's? I saw so many others at that time... just not her.

X. Dell said...

Lucky dog. I've never seen either Anderson or Reed, and I live in NY. Sounds like quite a show.

Did the woman sleeping next to you make a good armrest, at least?

genn6 said...

The Luminato is in the top 10 list of things to do before I croak and because I live so close to Toronto it's probably one of the few I will actually accomplish. I'm just a bit jealous, Dale!

Beth said...

You lucky bee! I would love to see Ms. Anderson — and Lou's appearance was icing on the cake!

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

First Patti Lupone and now Laurie Anderson?! Bitch, again.

Chancelucky said...

Darn, I've always wanted to see a Laurie Anderson concert/show. fwiw, I don't think of you as dark at all.

Dale said...

Such a great album Cap'n Ergo, I've been listening to it and a few others all over again too.

Finally Beckeye! You get it!

Thankfully Pistols, nobody's ever invited me but I still hope.

If only I had taken more in OneWayB. I'm so lazy!

I made it sound that way because it was Barbara! I heard a few grumblings like 'she's not the same as she was 20 years ago'. Yeah, well neither are you! I loved it.

She had on a black turtlenecky looking thing with a silvery sparkly vest over it MJ, she was pretty awesome.

You could find her again now Fran and let her know how sorry you are.

It was funny watching her head sink toward her chest, jerk up and then back down X. Dell. I didn't want to startle her so I ignored her most of the time.

Make plans for next year Genn6. You can do it!

It was one of those great nights Beth, wish you'd been there.

Anybody else I can go see to piss you off Melly? That's why I'm here.

I'm like a partial eclipse most of the time Chancelucky.

Coaster Punchman said...

So I turned the corner in SoHo the other day, and Laurie Anderson walks up to me and says "there goes another one of those 'Coaster Punchman' clones." So I said "look at me! Look at me! Loooook at me....look at me...."

Dale said...

That's one of my favourite comments CP! It shows me you know just how important you are, at least to Laurie Anderson if not society.

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