2 of a Perfect Trio – [Live]

Friday, 21 October 2011

You may not even like "progressive rock". You might think prog is pretentious, ostentatious, discordant, anal retentive, or any other number of disparaging adjectives, but you'd be turning yourself away from a demonstration of some of the finest musicianship in the world.


The presentation of the "2 of a Perfect Trio" tour that I caught on October 18, 2011 was astounding on numerous levels. Most of the musicians have toured the world, some of them several times. Most of them have played for decades with some of the most innovative, successful, and adventurous musicians the world has ever known. I'll even namedrop a little; the men on stage at the Regency that night have supported the likes of Paul Simon, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Brian Eno – that's just off the top of my head – and that's not even mentioning (one of) the stalwarts of progressive rock, King Crimson.

This event lasted close to three hours. The first part was a substantial set by The Stickmen, a trio composed of Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, and Markus Reuter. These three put on a powerful and fun set of studio pieces and improv. Tony's a fun performer; very engaging with the audience. Markus has a quiet presence, but I can't fault him as I can't imagine playing a Touch Guitar and holding a conversation at the same time. Pat, well, was a pain to photograph, but I'll give him a pass because anytime I set my eyes on him, my mind was compelled to match the monstrous drumming sounds to his handiwork.

The second set was by one of the 2011 lineups for the Adrian Belew Power Trio. I've seen the trio play several times before, but this was the first time I got to see their latest drummer, Tobias Ralph. This is the eighth time I'd seen Mr. Belew, and he continues to astound, amaze, and inspire. I've seen Julie Slick six times, and her freshness, grit, and charm add fun and excitement to her bass presence. This trio, was tight, inventive, and powerful; they played their own repertoire and some Adrian Belew solo material, as well as some improv including Mr. Belew's piano-on-a-guitar, and Tobias' drum play.

After a second short break, the third set started with a mix of three, growing to all six on stage. This was a classic progressive rock treat as the entire set was from the King Crimson catalog, and it was all played with precision, power, and fun. The tour's namesake is not just a label; these musicians deliver perfection. They closed the night with an encore after thunderous urging from the crowd.

Between each set, the musicians spent time with the audience, delivering even more good will than they already had through music.

I think we live charmed lives being able to experience music like this. If you enjoy music as an adventure, take a road trip to this show.


The 2 of a Perfect Trio tour continues. Click here for a list of upcoming dates.

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