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Published: December 17th 2016
Shine on you crazy diamond...tripping the light fantastic.
The lights dimmed and clouds of trippy notes rolled towards us...ever so soft...ever so far away...tendrils of sweet sound heading our way.
A guy with a guitar strolls onto the stage...hair over his eye ...twang...that single riff trickling down my spine.
Another to a keyboard...finger reaching for a single riff...another to the drums...gently brushing the skins as he sits down.
One by one the stage fills...each reaching for just one riff one after the other...the clouds rolling closer...melody inviting rain to come.
Do de de dar...Do de de dar...Do de de dar...Do de de dar...our senses alive and inviting...the band stirring ever so slightly...sweet notes sweeping me away.
Into orbit...remember when you were young...you shone like the sun...shine on you crazy diamond...and shine.
The best gig of 2016. Who'd have thought it could be a tribute band. The Pink Floyd Experience
...weaving their magic as we float along.
In October 2015 had to cry today...the Great Southern Blues Festival had its last hooray...16 years ministering to our souls in the sleepy south coast town of Narooma...our favourite festival.
But when blues is ya business...always one more gig to go. Canned Heat 50 Year Anniversary Tour - 25 & 28 October 2015
In my wayward youth they were running late for a gig at Sydney Town Hall so I waited on the footpath outside.
A taxi suddenly leapt the kerb and I had to jump out of the way.
A massive man with massive beard and hair reaches out of the taxi window and grabs my hand.
"Sorry man" he says with a grin.
'twas the late Bob "The Bear" Hite, Canned Heat's lead singer...the rest of the band piling out.
Many years have passed and they're "On the road again"...booked to see them twice in a week.
Be nice to see them again.
First at the Basement...intimate club we often go...four in the band...some members of the original band that played at Woodstock including Harvey Mandel (ex Charlie Musselwhite, John Mayall and the Rolling Stones).
Still got it...still vibrant and strong.
Then 3 days later at the Factory...last time here was for John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers but only standing room tonight.
seeing the World's best boogie band..."Let's work together" and "Going up the country"...seats just don't seem right.
Best band in the World to boogie all night.
****** Deborah Conway & Willy Zygier 1 November 2015
She says she is an atheist jew but the songs have messages of Zion that embrace her birth rite.
We go for the music...definitely one of our favourite bands..."The Book of Life" one of our favourite songs.
Deborah has Aussie music pedigree going way back. Her brothers Mick & Jim music icons as well. Her vocals & guitar captures the soul.
But her husband Willy with his mesmerising skill on accoustic guitar and enchanting face is the one who holds me spellbound...incredible talent.
If Deborah is the face of the band...Willy is the heartbeat that holds it together.
Their CDs "Half Man Half Woman" & "Stories of Ghosts" definites for any collection.
BB King...R.I.P - 13 November 2015
When we saw him live the band played "BB...BB...King of the Blues" over and over and over again...BB throwing lollies to the crowd like a loving father distributing
On 15 May 2015 the King of the Blues died aged 89 years.
The thrill has gone...gone to Blues Heaven...sad sad day.
We spent 3 nights in his Blues Club in Beale Street in January 2015.
How honoured we are to have seen the King in concert and only four months before his death we were boogieing in his Club in Memphis, Tennessee.
Went to a tribute night with our neighbour Ruth run by a guy who spends his life lecturing on BB King ...archival rare clips of the master...the spirit of the King rising like a phoenix...he will not be forgotten when nights like this renew. Fleetwood Mac - 14 November 2015
Our good friends Jim and Jennie taking us to Hope Estate Winery in the Hunter Valley to see the return of one of the big bands of the 1970s...Fleetwood Mac.
Posse at the top of a hill...zillions of patrons...zillions of storm clouds promising rain dances to come.
And rain it did.
But instead of dancing...tried but couldn't get into the groove.
Of all the bands we have seen over the last few years...and
that's heaps...gotta be the most disappointing.
Some bands can trip the light fantastic in their twilight years...but sorry Fleetwood Mac...ya ain't one of them. Wolf Mail - 20 November 2015
Canadian guitarist plays a lot in Europe and Russia...one of our favourites in Sydney after a few years away.
Front table at the Vanguard...a hip Afro American on bass...a young dude on drums and Wolf's guitar licks climbing the walls...his sultry brooding vocals evocative...emotive... intense.
Wolf's back...playing like a man possessed...like a guitar fiend on fire.
After the show waited to buy his latest CD to add to his other six...sees us and walks right up.
"Good to see you again Dave"...gives Denise a hug, then me.
Far out. Hasn't been in Oz for 2 or 3 years...all the folks he sees around the globe...still remembers us...still remembers our names!
Saw him once at a Jethro Tull concert...introduced me to his friends, "Do you guys know Dave?"
A shy man who let's his guitar do the talking.
Heats up the room...when the vibe is right!
****** Bringing Eclectic Music together - Eve of
Australia Day 25 January 2016
Our daughter was a Bi-Centenary baby...26 January 1988...Australia's 200th Birthday.
Exactly 200 babies born in New South Wales that day...kinda understand why she thinks the fireworks over Sydney Harbour each Australia Day are for her.
Kinda understand why she felt a bit put out when we attended a one year old's birthday party on the eve of her birthday this year.
But not the sort of party you'd wanna miss...invitation only.
The birthday of the son of the owner of Camelot...Sydney's World Music best kept secret.
And the line up of musos to celebrate was not to be missed. Joanna Weinberg
first up, then Mick Conway
of Whoopee Band fame, once busker Sam Wastphalen
, World music icon Aby Dobson
, the cello master Anatoly Voshinsky
from Marsala, Victor Valdez, Mark Hess, Nadya
the Gypsy music queen from 101 Candles (seen prev. with Josevich
), the outrageous Kristen Hughes
, sax genius Eddie Bronson
(seen prev. with Jo Trouble & littlewing
) and honouring the death of David Bowie, Geoff Duff
Thanks go to Tasso who got there 4 hours before it started to keep us the best seats...whew...what a night...extraordinary!
******* Blues at the Basement - 28 January 2016
We first saw the Bondi Cigars
somewhere in the early 1990s...fast rising to Aussie blues icons from the inner west sydney blues scene.
We have seen their lead Shane Pacey at regular Basement gigs as he can't stop playing he says.
Tonight the Cigars are back...Shane Pacey, Ebden Hale, Al Britton & Frank Corby...blues as it's supposed to be played...uncompromising, funky, steamy, lyrical.
Sharing a yarn with Ebden at the end of the night...really glad they're back!
****** Blues at the Basement - 28 April 2016
We first saw Darren Jack
about 20 years back...would've been at Great Southern Blues Festival with Third Degree.
For about 13 years he's been playing his powerhouse blues either solo or with other maestros.
Represented at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis twice and won numerous awards.
Gotta get to the Basement tonight as Darren is back.
Big surprise the advertising flyer's photo from the Basement...is a photo taken by me!!!
Great night...as always (and Darren's also a Facebook friend)!
One of his support bands Lazy
Eye from Adelaide...bought two of their CDs...great show.
****** Eric Burdon & the Animals 50 Year Anniversary Tour - 17 May 2016
Andrew was supposed to come from the South Coast to join us for this one but he got held up in Adelaide so we gave his ticket to our next door neighbour Peter who is lead guitarist in the band Vinyl Edge...good choice.
Not only was Peter delighted we paid for his ticket but of all the British bands of the 1960s to embrace the blues, John Mayall & the Bluebreakers, the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones & the Animals are the ones that spring to mind.
Who could forget "House of the Rising Sun", "Don't Let me be Misunderstood", "We've Gotta get out of this Place" and "Sky Pilot" to name a few.
Only the lead singer Eric Burdon still around for this gig at the Enmore...in his seventies...big voice as powerful as ever.
And his band...far out and fabulous.
Started with a lengthy funky version of "Spill that Wine"...one of my favourite all time tracks.
One of the hottest gigs of the year...simply sublime.
****** Pink Floyd Experience - 28 May 2016
The gig of the year for me...my opening credits.
Scott & Anita insisting they join us for this again next year.
****** Mulatu Astatake (Ethiopia) & The Black Jesus Experience - 5 June 2016
Dancing to snake music in Ethiopian mead halls and where I got my groove, we were very excited to re-live the memories by seeing the founder of Ethio Fusion Jazz in Sydney as part of the Vivid Festival.
So after taking our fill of the kaleidoscope of projected images on the Opera House and colonial buildings, we entered the Basement for a bit of Ethio re-fill.
There was a dancefloor and the place was packed with a predominantly 20s and early 30s crowd that really surprised us as Mulatu Astatake would be in his late 70s.
The Black Jesus Experience was a rap jazz fusion group and when the singer started pounding out shouting rap...was a total turnoff for us.
The fifth track was "Gabelye"...familiar snake music (no rap) that transported us to Lalbela and Addis Ababa.
At the break we gave our apologies
and left. First time we'd done that in years. Felt really bad about that but Ethio it may be to those that haven't been there but to us who have...'twas crap!
****** Denise's Birthday - 18 July 2016 - 6 days in Melbourne
Deserves a blog of it's own considering what we did and saw but there's a big Blues scene in Victoria's capital so we made sure we got into some.
On the Saturday we drove down to the Mornington Peninsula for the annual Mornington Blues, having booked tickets from Sydney.
4 maestros...our favourite the moody harmonica guru Chris Wilson
, guitar greats Jim Hocking, Nick Charles & Jesse Valach
rotating so each highlighted with another...special guests Sweet Felicia & Tommy McEwan
Great blues...great night...long drive back to our hotel.
The following night we went to the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society Memphis Challenge night at Fitzroy.
They were expecting us and had reserved seats for us in the front row but we were a tad delayed carousing with folk we had met in the hotel, so did not arrive by taxi until 8pm.
You can imagine our surprise and
their's...when we arrived...they were packing up!!!
So we headed to the other side of the city to St Kilda.
You can imagine our surprise and their's...when we arrived...they too that Sunday night were packing up!!!
So they suggested we walk uphill for 1 km to the Dog Bar.
St Kilda is a pretty trendy hip sort of place and when we entered the Dog Bar we were instantly welcomed and offered seats at a table with some cool cats up the front.
At the piano was Pugsley Buzzard
, a name we knew but had not experienced.
His website typically understated describes him so..."The hippeningest, happeningest, pianomashingest hoodooman hipster of the funkological piano of where it's at daddio. Big voice, chunky piano, red hot bands and sassy horns, intriguing multi-dimensional songs. Pugsley has played from Berlin to New Orleans."
And he did not disappoint.
All the hot women insisted on dancing with Denise...and even some of them danced with me!
We even got an invite at 1am to kick on somewhere else!
One of those nights where persistence more than paid off!!!
****** Best of Chess -
3 September 2016
Chess Records was an American record label from 1950 to 1975 having such notables as Howling Wolf, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters & Chuck Berry on it's books.
So had to get front of stage at the Basement with Jim & Jennie for this one.
Oz guitarslinger Ray Beadle
Canada's Charle A' Court
on guitars and vocals, Chris Wilson
from Melbourne on harmonica, Rosscoe Clark
on drums and Benny Edwards
One of the hottest gigs of 2016...cookin' or what!
****** Ana Popovic - 21 September 2016
USA blonde guitarslinger of note we booked first day tiks on sale and rolled up at the Basement but got crap seats.
The blonde at the table front row centre made a bee-line for us and hug her we did.
Katrina...used to be our threesome dance partner years back at Steve Edmonds gigs...used to make the guys envious that Dancing Dave "was dancing with two hot chicks!"
So when Ana Popovic came on the manager had us sitting with Katrina right down the front!
Photos were only allowed in the first 2 tracks and then the
Awesome reputation...awesome talent...shredding that guitar like only Ana can.
****** Joe Bonamassa - 30 September 2016
"Of all the places I've played this is the last on my bucket list," he said...we 6th row at the Sydney Opera House.
Smart suit...slick back hair...sunglasses...sensational band..."Blues of Desperation".
Only one at the top of his game dares or can afford to fill the Sydney Opera House.
"Black Rock" the CD I know him by...Denise's top gig of 2016.
Joe Bonamassa...gotta admit...you really rock.
****** Hot Chocolate - 15 October 2016
It started with a kiss...Emma...I gave you my heart...You could've been a lady....Are you getting enough happiness...Tears on the telephone.
Chances...Girl crazy...You sexy thing...I'll put you back together again...What kinda boy are you looking for?
Heaven is in the back seat of my Cadillac..No doubt about it..So you win again.
And then there was Brother Louie...Everyone's a winner.
****** Sydney Blues Festival VIP Night - 26 October 2016
Rain ain't no dampener for the Dancin' Ones when blues flows thru ya veins...bring on the
rain...we're gonna see Chris Cain.
Headline act of this years festival...from New York...inspiration for Joe Bonamassa...plays BB King as if his soul is black...yet his skin is not.
Chatting to him at the bar...seen him on and off for over 20 years...promoter's favourite at Great Southern Blues Festival.
Bring Denise to meet him..."I hear you are looking forward to meeting me" she says...he nodding...greeting us like old friends.
Plays blues with feeling...straight from his heart.
****** Lisa Hunt - 27 October 2016
The USA's Queen of Soul is shaking the Dee Why RSL tonight...Scott & Anita needing dance partners.
Favourite at Hamilton Island Whitsunday yacht classics for Scott...we saw her years ago...count us in.
Mowtown alive and well...even youth in force...big lady...big personality...big voice.
Lisa Hunt instead of a night at the Blues Festival?
What a talent...top night...good choice.
****** Sydney Blues Festival - 28 October 2016
Heaps of bands shaking the banks of the Hawkesbury River at Windsor this year...but our main act was the Paddlewheeler Blues Cruise with Chris Wilson from Melbourne.
Young gun James Southwell
Chris on guitar, vocals and harmonica with a drummer...over 2 hours of the sultry master washing us with his grooves.
Had to dance...just me...sometimes you just have to.
Chris commenting between riffs..."Just checkin' he's more than just his shirt...this is just between me and him...yep...he's more than just his shirt."
Riffs and the river rolling on.
****** The Troggs 50 Year Anniversary Tour - 15 November 2016
The Super Moon of the century was obscured by cloud last night but tonight they say the sky will be clear so we are trying over the Sydney Opera House.
Last night was 7:08pm but tonight it rises at 8:18pm...a massive Carnival Line Cruiser departing at 8pm...hope it doesn't block it.
A red ball peeping over the SE horison...me and others racing to the Overseas Terminal now clear.
View to cheer the heart...big orange ball...had to wait for this...next time it returns pretty certain I will no longer be here.
Raced to the Basement for one of the iconic bands of the 1960s...Wild Thing...I think I love you.
Arrive 9pm...first time ever the main act has started before 9...but they
Front table centre reserved for us.
Wow. These guys must be in their 70s...but wow.
Still got it. Super moon and the Troggs
...doesn't get better than that!
****** Matt Andersen - 3 December 2016
Where are Dangerous Dave and the Luscious Merry Jo
when you need them?
This big Canadian was a highlight of our Bluesin', Cruisin' & Schmoozin' with those darn Binkleys on the Legendary Blues Cruise in the Caribbean in Jan 2015...so kinda a given we had to attend his gig when he blew into Sydney Town.
Had a chat with him in the Gents as you do...3 weeks in Oz ending soon.
Wow. For a big man with big fingers he can play the guitar with outstanding dexterity, touch and finesse.
And what a powerful but beautiful voice.
Jim & Jennie made a mad dash to join us from Port Macquarie for this one and Matt was well worth it.
What a fabulous year...many gigs...many highlights.
Sit back and enjoy these lyrical delights.
Somewhere beautiful....somewhere different.
Relax and Enjoy,
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