Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour '09 -some jumbled thoughts

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johnfoyle
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Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour '09 -some jumbled thoughts

Postby johnfoyle » Mon May 04, 2009 4:05 pm

The week following Elvis and The Brodsky Quartet already seems like a half remembered dream. My head is full of a jumble of images and thoughts. I'd hoped to be able to write a song by song, note by note analysis but find it beyond me. Why that should be is, perhaps, explained by a number of factors.

Being such a big fan of Elvis is , of course, the primary one. With such a detailed knowledge of his work it's just so difficult to step back and observe him. Every move is , inevitably, an echo , a reprise , something seen before. Anything I could write from this perspective would just be so nerdy and , perhaps, remote for the casual reader. And, anyway, it's all out there already in the various accounts of the individual shows.

The best I can do is offer up is a random selection of those jumbled images and thoughts. Stop reading now if you are looking for any kind of sequential narration of the week, from Basingstoke to Bristol and points in between.

Lets start with the way Elvis would stare at Daniel Rowland. Daniel, floppy hair and stubbly chin, is the newest Brodsky and was the youngest person on stage each night. Elvis' 20 year relationship with the senior Brodskys probably means they are comfortable with each other. Young Daniel was clearly, for the first few shows, having to prove himself to Elvis. So he got stared at a lot. He had to play a lot of tricky intro. and middle pieces, setting the tempo and tone of the performances. He has a very physical way of playing, half sighing , half gasping as he launched into pieces. A few times Elvis seemed to give a him a particularly bug eyed look, prompting thoughts this might be another musician who may be in line for the old ' there's room for only one star on this stage' speech. Later in one show -Manchester , I think - Elvis was doing a intro. spiel and Daniel had his bow to his violin ( made by Lorenzo Stononi of Cremona in 1793, as the Glasgow program told us) and seemed to be starting to play. Elvis and the others seemed to be lagging a bit and Elvis turned to Paul Cassidy and said something like ' This boy is ready to go!'. As the tour progressed the examination seemed to be finished - the musician had been accepted. At a interval of a few shows Daniel could be seen out and about in the foyer with non -Brodskys. It all added up to interesting dynamic, a young gun diligently going about his tasks , respectfully but independently , winning through by means of excellence.

The Elvis/Jacqueline Thomas dynamic was interesting. Elvis would have to turn fully sideways to engage with her, her steely eyed look at her music sheets allowing her to give him the most fleeting of response. A few times , usually when Elvis was playing guitar, they were , effectively ,dueting, her playing just about leading him , maybe stretched a bit to accommodate his strumming. When she broke a cello string she looked mortified. Considering that instrument was made by Thomas Perry in 1785, it was probably understandable. When , after the repairs and Elvis' quick fill in of a solo acoustic number, she returned , Elvis could be seen and heard asking if she was alright , getting a half grin/nod response.

Paul Cassidy and Ian Belton were the bedrock of the shows, unison playing ('lan Belton's violin is by Gio. Paolo Maggini c.1615 Paul Cassidy plays on La Delfina viola, c.1720, courtesy of Sra. Delfina Entrecanales') that indicates an unreal amount of rehearsal or blissfully great meeting of compatible temperaments. It's probably a bit of both. Paul usually had a grin on his face. As the shows progressed it was possible to discern a subtle variety in these grins. When things were tricky - the segue between The Last Post and Bedlam, for instance - it was fixed grin, showing ferocious concentration. The sparkly, mischevious grim was evident as Elvis made up even more preposterous stories about the circumstance of Paul composition of the arrangement of ' Sulfur To Sugarcane'. In London, it was merely Basinstoke, which was enough to get a laugh from the audience. In Birmingham and Bristol it was in 'the sidecar of a motorbike', Jacqueline steering. In Glasgow it was in 'his Ferrari' and in Manchester it was in ' hot air balloon'. All had Paul beaming.

More tomorrow. Or maybe not ; I go to Bob Dylan at the O2 , Dublin so I mightn't have the time. Feel free , any of the many of you I met along the way , to chip in something.
Last edited by johnfoyle on Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sulky lad
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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour -some jumbled images and thoughts

Postby sulky lad » Mon May 04, 2009 10:09 pm

Unlike John, I only managed 3 of the shows ( Barbican with VG, Manchester and Birmingham) but I came away from all of them with one main thought - WHY ?
Over the past 4 years Elvis seems resolved to test the patience of the British fans to their limit and I think I can trace this back to the C/N tour of 2003 when Elvis invariably made a point about the lack of critical acclaim ( or even the downright hostile reviews) that came out of the British press in response to North. It seems like he doesn't take criticism too kindly and we can trace this over the years like the response to Patrick Humphries' condemnation of The Juliet letters in 1993.
I feel that this has made him decide that he won't play with "a band" because that would be reverting to the format that the British press expects him to perform with, as if it were an admission of failure that performing in any other way is another example of Elvis "dabbling" in different musical experiments.
The tour with the Brodskys was the first time I'd seen him play with them alone (apart from various guest appearances at meltdown and at the RFH in 2003 (?)) and I was grateful for the chance to see them in the flesh. Yet the Barbican was also the most disappointing show for me, particularly the first half which seemed stilted and flat. The performance of New Lace Sleeves in particular was a real nadir and seemed like a desperate attempt to try and include some old Attractions material to keep the crowd pleased but their rendition was turgid and uninspiring although later performances were more lively. I don't know if appearing in London inhibited them in some way but once out in"the sticks" both performances I saw were loads more energetic and passionate.
It still puzzled me though that here was someone who had released an album last year which would undoubtedly appealed to people who liked Elvis but weren't ardent fans as being back to his original style, would have surely sold many more copies of Momofuku had he toured with the Imposters to promote it either last year or this and then has a new album of "band" songs and again chooses to virtually ignore the new material and instead tours with a string quartet. No doubt the tour has been a long time in the planning but I can't see the relevance either short or long term in Elvis' scheme of things for this tour. If the woman in Glasgow who didn't get to grips with the concept of a string quartet seems a little "Nieve" for attending the show without reading the details, I have a degree of sympathy because these shows seem unlikely to win Elvis any new fans or persuade them to buy either of the two most recent albums.
However even in those moments of doubt which occured in the concerts ( during New Lace Sleeves, the reworked or original version Either Side and even during Accidents) there were magical moments which justified the confederacy of Costello and Brodskys - particularly the Juliet Letter tracks, Weakness, Write To Juliet and Romeo's Seance which really changed my view of it seeing it live) and the quieter songs were decidedly enhanced. But even Elvis must have noticed the biggest cheers came when he pulled on a guitar and sang new songs solo, mustn't he ?
He mentioned to VG after the Barbican show that he'd come over to promote the new album with The SugarCanes if only some promoters would be prepared to book him and I find it barely credible that he can't find anyone prepared to book him.
Judging by the turnouts for the Manchester and Birmingham shows, if he can three-quarters fill the Symphony Hall and the Bridgewater Hall playing with a string quartet, an appearance with any band would fill most local Carling Academys.
Apologies now to all those waiting for the Bridgewater show to appear on dime, I'll be uploading it in a few days barring any diasters like Man Utd hanging onto their lead at the Emirates later on today ! :lol:

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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour -some jumbled images and thoughts

Postby Mikeh » Wed May 06, 2009 8:07 am

('lan Belton's violin is by Gio. Paolo Maggini c.1615 Paul Cassidy plays on La Delfina viola, c.1720, courtesy of Sra. Delfina Entrecanales'


You would have thought the Brodsky's could afford some new instruments by now,

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Who Shot Sam?
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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour -some jumbled images and thoughts

Postby Who Shot Sam? » Wed May 06, 2009 8:33 am

Mikeh wrote:
('lan Belton's violin is by Gio. Paolo Maggini c.1615 Paul Cassidy plays on La Delfina viola, c.1720, courtesy of Sra. Delfina Entrecanales'


You would have thought the Brodsky's could afford some new instruments by now,


:D :D

Reminds me of that great bit in The Jerk...

Waiter: Would monsieur care for another bottle of Chateau Latour?
Navin: Ah yes, but no more 1966. Lets splurge! Bring us some fresh wine! The freshest you've got - this year! No more of this old stuff.
Mother, Moose-Hunter, Maverick

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oldhamer
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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour -some jumbled images and thoughts

Postby oldhamer » Thu May 07, 2009 8:34 am

I saw the gig at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham. I did see John Foyle there, I recognised you from the photos you've posted on here. But I didn't have the courage to say hi :oops:

It was the first time I've seen EC after being a lifelong fan, so it was exciting just to see him. I would have rather seen him with the Imposters, but heavan knows when he's going to tour with them in Blighty next. Still, I liked the Juliet Letters so was still looking forward to seeing the Brodskys. The songs best performed on the night were those from the album; the arrangements just seemed catchier.

The other arrangements were mixed. I liked Accidents Will Happen, Rocking Horse Road, All this useless beauty. The new song, Sulphur to Sugarcane, was very catchy and I'm still singing it in the shower a couple of weeks after the concert, which must be a good sign. New Lace Sleeves is a bit too slow.

On the whole I enjoyed it, probably because from the distance I was you couldn't see EC's dodgy moustache. Though I gave up on EC's facial hair years ago. IMHO he looked best on the Brutal Youth/ATUB years, and he's often looked messy before that and since. The thing that struck me most is that his voice is VERY good, very strong.

I'm glad I went and looking forward to the new album (T-Bone Burnett yay! the next best producer would be Nick Lowe), but would love him to tour with the Imposters here. Why he didn't promote Momokuko extensively, his most catchy album for years (since BY) but is instead doing the media rounds to promote a bluegrass album confuses me.

That's my tuppence worth anyway.
If there were a king of fools than I would wear that crown/And you can all die laughing/Because I'll wear it proudly.

johnfoyle
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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour -some jumbled images and though

Postby johnfoyle » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:20 pm

A discussion on EC f/book page just prompted these words of wisdom from me so why not stick 'em here also -


Though it's minor in comparison this reminds me of the nine days I spent following Elvis and The Brodskys around the UK seeing all six shows they did in 2009. I had planned to see maybe one or two of them but kept getting asked by friends who were going to shows to join up with them and ended up seeing them all. Looking back I can see it as being a by product of the tail end of the boom here in Ireland - a year later I wouldn't have been able to afford it. Indeed I could barely afford it at the time.

It was the closest I'll ever get I suppose to seeing the travelling artists life. I actually had the sensation most of mornings of waking up and wondering which town I was in. I stayed in Holiday Inns in a few towns and the room fittings were scarily identical. I traveled by bus, car , train and airplane. I had the same conversation with literally dozens of fans in the different locations. I enjoyed the shows - many new songs got one off airings etc. In Manchester one was done because a cello string was broken. In Glasgow some audience members were given refunds because they had expected a rock show. And so on. But by the time I got to the final date in Bristol was I was numbed by the repetition of Elvis' banter. As he 'ad libbed' with exactly the same pauses and words stories like the one about seeing Arnie Schwarzenegger in a restaurant etc. I was blocking my ears and humming to drown it out. No wonder Brodsky Paul Cassidy looked at me with pity when I told him after the show that I'd seen them all. Maybe he saw and recognised the slightly dead look in my eyes.

It's not something I can ever see myself doing again. I'll see the two shows in the UK this July and here in Ireland in October and that'll do!

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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour '09 -some jumbled thoughts

Postby bronxapostle » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:52 pm

why the hate for artists repeating their stories during the same tour? it is a SHOW and they implement these tales as part of the whole. only we that go to repeat performances would ever know it has been told a few times before (and after!) i too sigh a bit when i know a certain "ad-lib" is coming, but i am never displeased about it if i'm going to more than one show. AND i would never let THAT limit the number of shows i attend. a show is a show and if an artist wants that tale told at each performance, like E and Bruce sometimes do, why let it annoy me? WATCH king foyle, i predict you will go to MORE than two shows come autumn. :wink:

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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour '09 -some jumbled thoughts

Postby johnfoyle » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:58 am

Re- reading this in anticipation of seeing the Brodsky's this evening

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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour '09 -some jumbled thoughts

Postby bronxapostle » Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:24 am

Cool...enjoy your evening. Wish you were in Connecticut.

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Stuart Gardner
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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour '09 -some jumbled thoughts

Postby Stuart Gardner » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:38 am

Please forgive me for asking about a different year (1993), but I was listening to Live at New York Town Hall last night, and wondering about the appreciative laughter from the audience during that outstanding performance of "God Only Knows." They aren't laughing at the performers, of course, but clearly loving some visual antics.

Exactly what is happening on stage to elicit this reaction?

Many thanks.

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Re: Elvis/Brodskys U.K. tour '09 -some jumbled thoughts

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:54 am

johnfoyle wrote:Re- reading this in anticipation of seeing the Brodsky's this evening

Was it the same Black Angels performance I'll be seeing them do in 10 days?
http://www.cambridgemusicfestival.co.uk ... ck-angels/

Interesting programme. Looking forward to it.
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