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Ian Sorensen
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Posts: 38
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #80: 22.09.09 at 01:24 »
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Quote:

Absolutely so. A work is re-created in every performance even if reading dots. And is a work of art ever finished? I get so pissed off with people who go to a gig and say, "yeah, but he didn't do it like on the album"
 
Gerry

 
I'm in a bit of a quandary here: I'm one of those who likes bands who can recreate their studio sound on stage, even if it means augmenting the lineup or even (heresy!) using a backing track. I deplore slapdash "2 guitars and drums" versions of beloved 32 track recordings. (An example is The Police: studio sound great, live they are unlistenable as a trio.) Many people think live versions are more exciting, atmospheric, authentic - whatever. I think that's poppycock - when hundreds of hours are spent getting it right in the studio it's unlikely that the live version will come close to what the artist intended for the song.
 
Remember here that I am a musician myself, so don't in any way want to replace live music with recordings. I am fully in sympathy with Gerry's dilemma over the rewritten sax solo: should a musician be expressing their creativity or pleasing the paying public? Nice when you can do both but in my career I always erred on the side of pleasing the punters.  
 
What I don't need, or want, is an exact copy of the album arrangement of a song when played live. Pete takes old songs and looks for additional emotion, insight or just fun in reworking them. Most often he succeeds: the recent keyboard "Jokers" have been almost savage, and turn a good song into a great one. Slowing down a song like "Touch" helps enhance its impact, making it more reflective and heartfelt rather than merely wistful. That he has a talent for finding new life and meaning in songs is amply demonstrated by the way he can rework other people's songs so effectively. His "Razor Boy" was wonderful - an improvement on the Steel Dan version in that the feelings and tension inherent in the song were brought out in a way I'd never appreciated in the original.
 
One of the joys of being part of Midnight Voices is that we have been given so many different versions of  the songs over the past decade, and if I were to list my top 20 then there would probably be 10 that were not the versions that I grew to love on the original albums.
 
Pete demonstrates his mastery by keeping the old and familiar fresh and interesting.
 
If only he could work on my jokes.....  
 
Ian
 
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Ian Chippett
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In the clear at over fifty-five

   

Posts: 330
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #81: 22.09.09 at 11:56 »
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When I used to go and see 10cc years ago, they reproduced practically note-for-nore most of their repertoire except "The Dean and I" which they admitted was too difficult. There wouldn't have been much point in going to see them if they played their songs any other way as it was their (for the time) technical sophistication that was what we wanted to hear. Other groups can't do it on stage because they're not up to it. Here the Beach Boys spring to mind. Now I adore most of their music but when I saw them in 1980 they were worse even with a backing band than in 1966 or 7 when I saw them for the first time. As musicians rather than singers, they just couldn't do it. It's not because of the technical difficulties: look for the Fendertones on You Tube and hear mind-boggling versions of Beach Boys hits.
 
Then again, I saw the great Richard Sinclair (ex-Caravan and Hatfield and the North) with a modern jazz pianist whose name I can't recall and a flute and sax player (Theo Travis) playing some of his classic songs none of which were recognizable from their introductions until he started singing. I'd always imagined that these so,gs couldn't be done any other way than in their original version. Quite wrong.
 
Not quite sure what I'm getting at here but I think as usual it all depends on what you want. If I go to see an oldies band I'd expect note-for-note cover versions but if I go to see Gerry with his own band doing (say Black Magic Woman) I'd be disappointed if they did it à la Santana. Give the public what they want even if they don't know they want it. Of they still don't want it after being given it, well, you can try again or go back to the drawing board.
 
Ian C
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Leslie Moss
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Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #82: 22.09.09 at 15:02 »
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While I agree that note-for-note transcriptions of the album are not generally what I go to a live concert to hear, I do believe that the live performance should capture the essence of the song even if it is substantially changed. Hearing The Who last year and Yes earlier, both bands kept close to the originals but varied the instrumentation and vocalisation to keep it interesting.
 
An interesting contrast could be heard at Glastonbury this year (I watched on TV not live unfortunately). Neil Young adapted many of his songs while keeping the guts of them - they ended up being more powerful than the album versions. By contrast, Crosby, Stills and Nash performed lifeless versions of their own songs, while actually keeping closer to the album versions.
 
Leslie
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Rob Spence
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Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #83: 22.09.09 at 17:46 »
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Watching our hero perform on Saturday was at times a little akin to coming across the drafts and what used to be called the foul papers of a writer. Interesting to see where a particular song might have gone, how a certain arrangement might have worked. And it was fascinating, even if (perhaps because) they were maybe somewhat flawed as a result. I'd also point out that Pete has been singing quite a few of these songs for 30-40 years, and I think he's entitled to a degree of tinkering to keep them fresh. According to Tom Petty, when the Heartbreakers were Dylan's backing band, they quite often didn't know what the song was going to be until Bob began to sing. I think Pete was a long way from that - those beloved songs were instantly recognisable, even if they weren't always in the form one might expect.
It's a real privilege, isn't it, to see how these songs still grow, still speak to us, and how the artist makes it new.
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ChrisH
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Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #84: 28.09.09 at 12:53 »
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I'd like to add my sincere thanks to Carole, Steve and Pete and also the other MVs for a wonderful evening. I agree with Mike Waters comment about Pete being a marvellous interpreter of songs. His version of Razor Boy was superb and has made me appreciate the song more that I ever did before. To me, the real strength of Pete and Clive's songs is the way that the lyrics are brought to life by the music, a real case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. I very much liked the new arrangements and I think it was an ideal occasion for experimenting. For some I preferred the much loved original arrangements, but I found that the new arrangements made me see some of the songs from a different angle. I like live performances for the way they are different to recordings, so long as the live performances are good and Pete's always are Smiley
Thanks also to everyone involved in arranging the post show reception. The first of these I have managed to get to but I hope  I get the chance again soon.
Thanks again to everyone !
Chris
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S J Birkill
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Posts: 602
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #85: 03.10.09 at 18:27 »
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Rob Spence has submitted a review of the concert, which I've uploaded to the Website here.
 
Rob is due thanks as creator (and curator) of our presence on Facebook, The Pete Atkin and Clive James Appreciation Society, an open group which we encourage MV members to join.
 
Steve
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Pete Atkin
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Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #86: 05.10.09 at 17:53 »
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Many a thank from me to everyone involved at the Lantern, from those who would have been there if they could all the way up the scale to Steve and Carole in particular who made it happen.  For me it was the usual story of things which, despite the best of intentions, I wish I had done differently or things I wish I had had the ability to do differently.
 
It was specially gratifying for me that so many people seem to have liked the newer stuff, even on a first hearing in some cases. As far as revisiting the old stuff is concerned, I doubt I could ever do any of it exactly the way I did it back then.  In fact, to be honest, there's very little I can do today exactly the way I did it forty years ago.  How about you?  
 
I never set out wilfully to change the way I do things just for the sake of it.  Sometimes I change a tempo or a rhythm or a key (or an instrument) mainly to find a new way in or to get something new out, and the best I can hope for is that a listener who already knows the song will maybe hear it in a new way - not necessarily better or worse, just different - and then perhaps be able to go back and hear the original record slightly differently.  The risk is always that for some listeners it won't work at all, and may seem like I was improving it worse.  But in practice that's the risk with every single performance of everything.  There are cases, though, where I think I got it plonkingly wrong on the original record - but listeners can acquire a fondness even for those.  (The DTMA version of 'Practical Man', for instance, seems to me now an uncoordinated mess.)    Still and always, anything you didn't like this time may with luck end up much better next time, so here's to that one and to seeing you there, whenever and wherever.
 
With many another thank.
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Ian Chippett
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Posts: 330
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #87: 06.10.09 at 11:46 »
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<<In fact, to be honest, there's very little I can do today exactly the way I did it forty years ago.  How about you?>>
 
Mustn't grumble, thanks.
 
Ian C
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Pete Atkin
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Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #88: 06.10.09 at 15:29 »
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Oh, you young people.  You think you're going to live forever.
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BogusTrumper
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You alone will be my last adventure

   

Posts: 282
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #89: 06.10.09 at 21:07 »
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I'm not as good as I once was, but I am as good once as I ever was  Cheesy
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And so goodbye, my lady of a night
Ian Chippett
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Posts: 330
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #90: 06.10.09 at 21:59 »
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<<Oh, you young people.  You think you're going to live forever.>>
 
There are moments (especially in the morning) when I think I have... Anyway, who's young? In recent weeks I have been (a) called an "old fart" (in French) by an irate neighbour (b)  told I'm in no danger of catching Pig Flu because "it only affects the young" and (c) been offered a seat in the Métro by a woefully unobservant young man.
 
Time for my Horlicks
 
Ian C
 
With nothing beyond burdens left to lose in Pantin France
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Ian Ashleigh
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Carnations on the Roof

   

Posts: 155
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #91: 07.10.09 at 20:29 »
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Off the topic in hand but aposite for the above few posts.  From 4th November when the esteemed Keith retires (at age 65) I at the tender age of 50 will be the oldest (or is it eldest) member of the team (of 9) at work!
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Though he had no great gifts of personality or mind, he was quite well respected.
Leslie Moss
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Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #92: 08.10.09 at 12:50 »
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Yes, isn't it depressing when you inperceptibly change from a younger member of the team to the oldest.
 
Leslie (who gets to within three years of 60 tomorrow)
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Richard Bleksley
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My time has come to find a better way

   

Posts: 164
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #93: 11.10.09 at 12:43 »
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Sorry to be so late chipping in on this thread, but I've been having computer problems, now hopefully resolved.
 
I'm even sorrier not to have been at ThoD II, but a combination of work schedules and the wife's involvement in something else made it just too difficult. I seem to remember Pete remarking to me after ThoD I that I might be in danger of overdosing on Atkin performances: well, I've certainly dealt with that problem with a vengeance, as I seem to have missed every single gig this year. Oh dear.
 
As for the aging side-issue, I (60 next year) rather like Mel Powell's thing (in her review of Winter Spring) about knowing you're old when you feel like a foreigner in the present. I think I'm getting there...
 
on 05.10.09 at 17:53, Pete Atkin wrote:
There are cases, though, where I think I got it plonkingly wrong on the original record - but listeners can acquire a fondness even for those.  (The DTMA version of 'Practical Man', for instance, seems to me now an uncoordinated mess.)

Just to prove you right, I happen to have "a fondness" for that version of Practical Man. Bad taste? Cloth ears? One man's meat?
 
Most importantly, I'm glad to see, Ian (Ashleigh), that your intentions for the Ravenswood are still bubbling away. As one who was at the Acoustic Sussex gig there a little while back, I can tell the rest of you that this is an absolutely stunning venue for an *oD: a Tudor mansion set in lush parkland; an atmospheric auditorium
 
http://www.theravenswood.co.uk/photo_tour/9.jpg
 
with a terrace and lawn outside and a bar (selling real ale) inside. I'd really love to see this happen.
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Ian Ashleigh
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Carnations on the Roof

   

Posts: 155
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #94: 11.10.09 at 13:58 »
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It seems that I am committed to a Manorhouse of Dreams (MoD - oops) in 2010 - watch this space
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Though he had no great gifts of personality or mind, he was quite well respected.
ChrisH
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Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #95: 22.10.09 at 18:23 »
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Hi Ian,
It gets my vote !
I managed to get ther for the gig Pete did, supported by the excellent Liz Simcock and I can confirm that this is an excellent venue. Acoustic Sussex put on some very good gigs in the area, either at Ravenswood or Chequer Mead Arts Centre in East Grinstead.
Cheers,
ChrisH
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Richard Bleksley
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My time has come to find a better way

   

Posts: 164
Re: ThOD revisited: 19th September 2009
« Reply #96: 24.10.09 at 08:29 »
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on 22.10.09 at 18:23, ChrisH wrote:

I managed to get ther for the gig Pete did, supported by the excellent Liz Simcock

 
Wandering a bit off-topic, but...
 
I too was impressed by Liz Simcock. For those who weren't there, here she is, captured last year in rather playful mood (she can get a lot more serious than this).
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ucjt8sJi7Lw
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