Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yes/Asia review, The Machine, Gov't Mule, The Hotdamns

A quick review of last night's Yes/Asia show at Innsbrook to start things off. Asia was pretty good. There was a feeling in the crowd, or maybe just me, of how much should we let on that we like these guys. There is still a stigma about Asia, as seen in movies like "The 40 Year Old Virgin" or "South Park". But then had everyone won over by the end, and we were all singing along with "Heat of the Moment". Geoff Downes even gave a nod to their 80s past and busted out the Keytar with an wink and a nod. Other highlights were Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson tune) & Sole Survivor. John Wetton can still sing great, though as Phil said, "He looks like he just got done working on my car". John's gained a little weight. Carl Palmer just pounded the hell out of the drums, especially during "Fanfare for the Common Man" (ELP tune). He was a maniac, doing all sorts of little tricks like spinning his drum stick on top of the cymbal then grabbing just in time, bangin' on the double gongs with giant mallets, etc. Someone in the crowd behind me said "Benihana" and I thought, "Yes, Carl is like the Benihana chef of the drums."

Yes was absolutely fantastic. Opened with Siberian Khatru. "And You & I" was amazing. During the "Eclipse" section, you could literally feel the keyboards and bass vibrate your body. Very heavy. After that song, Chris Squire genuinely commented to Benoit David, the new singer, "Great singing." Benoit graciously said, "Great song". Missed original singer Jon Anderson in a nostalgic way but vocally Benoit sounded great, as good if not better than Anderson. I though Anderson was still ill and unable to sing. But Jon's web site shows that he is doing nine solo shows this summer. I don't know if he is now feuding with the rest of the band or if he's still not feeling well enough to grind out a larger tour.

Other highlights were two songs from "Drama": "Tempis Fugit" and "Machine Messiah" and "Heart of the Sunrise". A beautiful night outdoors and it was great to be the equivalent of the 7th row, just outside of the "Gold Circle" (why pay $40 when you can $20) standing on stage left near "The Man", Chris Squire.

On to the future. Saturday night, The Machine (Pink Floyd tribute band) will play at the National with a 40 piece orchestra made up of members of the Richmond Symphony. They'll be filming the show for a PBS special. Tix are $40 for reserved orchestra, $30 reserved balcony and $25 for standing general admission. Doors open at 7 and the show starts at 8. Since they have the orchestra, I sincerely hope they do "Atom Heart Mother". (Yes, the quality on this video sucks but its rare and its Floyd with an orchestra):

On Wednesday night, the man who has played with every jam band EVER, Warren Haynes, brings his own band, Gov't Mule to Innsbrook. Tix are $12.50 in advance, $15 at the gate and $30 for Gold Circle. Gates open at 6. Here's the Mule with Grace Potter at Rothbury doing CSNY's "Find The Cost of Freedom > Ohio":

You can catch local Americana band The Hotdamns at Wonderland in Shockoe Bottom on Saturday night at 10 PM. Cover charge is $5. Here they are at the Canal Club a few months ago with their ode to porn star, "Gina Lynn":

Looks like something is brewing with the former Toad's Place building. Here's the story from the Times-Dispatch:

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing, here are some excellent high def pictures from that voyage into the great beyond:

Have a great weekend!

Tony Jordan