Review by jwelsh, posted 17 October 2012 12:46 pm EDT
Starts off with White Man's Moccasins -- a bit unique on its own -- but then stops on a dime for the beautiful The Pequod -- only to go back into Moccasins. At the end of Moccasins, rather than pausing, Joel held a chord for a minute while the rest of the band noodled around him . . . before dropping into Plunger. The Plunger featured a "Jimmy Stewart" and was over fifteen minutes in length; the jam begins starting out with Jake playing a riff similar to Billy Squier's "Everybody Wants You" before building into a full-band improv with Joel all over piano. As the jam peters out, Jake starts to tease Yes's "Roundabout."
And how better to follow up a 15-minute Plunger than with a 28-minute Utopian Fir. The first jam in Fir starts with Pony repeating this riff, with Brendan soloing over top with a really compressed tone (right?). Then it grows to this great build over the course of four or so minutes, adding some organ to the mix, back to Brendan on that same solo. The music slows down after about seven minutes of the jam . . . and a drum solo appears. It is as short one what quickly evolves into some bleeps and a bit of chaos before Utopian Fir appears around 13 minutes after the start of the song. The "reggae portion" is drawn out patiently . . . until it starts to morph and stetch. The "Fir Reunion" section picks up, becomes more dubby, shifts keys and time signatures. Really great stuff, almost sounding like another song . . . until losing all resemblance of the standard reggae ending . . . then dropping back into the "re-worked" Reunion section. Only to reemerge as the standard Utopian Fir with lyrics to end the song.
The opening notes of In the Kitchen started almost immediately as Utopian ended, with a patient little intro. Kitchen quickly finds itself in this funky jam. Pony's bassline sounds like it could have been taken from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (confirmation?).
Keeping with the rare openers, Padgett's Profile kicks off the second set in a dark and dirty fashion. Veers only slightly off course. The Bridgeless is pretty standard as well until it just slows down after about six minutes. Becoming quite airy, with Jake adding some playful riffs here and there, mixed with these little hints of metal songs . . . like "Masters of Puppets" and "One." And then Jake just starts playing Glory -- well, the intro, dropping out to silence, and then the whole band kicks in. Nice transition. And just as Bridgeless faded into Glory, the reverse was true as Glory slowly returns to Bridegeless. Neat little ending to Bridgeless, during that build -- Joel is really laying on the Moog as the guitarists trade licks back and forth.
After a breather, a "breather" of a song is started. I have always enjoyed the laid back, slinky start to Anchor Drops. A rather standard version is made humorous with the Matt Sorum (Guns N' Roses) Drum Fill to end. I am not sure if the GNR reference led them into Snake Juice, to be honest, but it worked -- I need to go back and look, but this might be the first appearance of Snake Juice as a stand-alone song. It flows into a nice breezy section with lots of Joel on piano with a slight Anchor Drops vibe in the background. A "Ring around the rosy" piece dissolves, still Joel on piano, but with the addition of e-drums. And then it fades into Rocker Part 2. Good little jam in the middle.
I so love Supertramp and Bloody Well Right. Joel nails the keys, imo, in that identifiable intro. His vocals? Not necessarily nailed, but close enough. The set-closing 40's Theme gets drawn out a bit when Rob Marscher joins Joel on keys -- as with a lot of the improv in this show, it is patient and breezy. Perfect, for me . . . Especially as Joel and Rob begin to play off each other (even Kris's e-drums here don't take away from the vibe). Although, I love Brendan's solo in 40's and this is often skipped when guests are brought out. Oh, well.
The Slacker encore works. More Moog from Joel during the slower middle section.
First set is worth a listen, for sure. And might as well skim through the second, with maybe some focus on Snake Juice.
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