I got in line at The Stone at around 7:25 and there were already about 10 people ahead of me. It was cold, but I had a tea and always get into fun music conversation while in line there. I already know that Marc Ribot brings a crowd and it’s a good idea to line up early. There was a lot of buzz about the 2nd set with Lurie Anderson. I’m not familiar with her, but I knew I didn’t want to miss anything at Sullivan Hall later, so there was no way I was going to try for that. I had seen a Marc Ribot at the show a while back, at The Stone, 6/20/05 and still remember how blown away I was. This one was quite different, but still phenomenal. He said it was mostly improvised but with large chunks of Ayler thrown in. I was mesmerized the whole time. There were a few sounds issues with his amp, but he quickly took care of those while continuing to play. He would bang it every now and then, or pull some plugs.
He played an acoustic, latin looking guitar the entire time. He had a few others lying around, but I guess he was saving them for Lurie. The only thing I missed that I saw in that 6/20/05 show was when he played the slide. There’s something about the sound that gets me every time. It was still phenomenal and a spectacular way to start off the killer evening.
Some Ribot interviews:
I am so glad I bought a ticket in advance for Sullivan Hall. It was sold out when I showed up at about 10:08 and they said they had just come on. I found an awesome spot at the side of the stage and just got in the zone for the entire time. I could see the drummers, but not that well. I had the perfect view of Skerik and was right behind Marco and got to watch him on the keys all evening. I know it’s early, and I’m having a spectacular music year so far, but that was by far the best show of 2008 so far. I guess I should have known it had a recipe for above-and-beyond excellence just by the lineup. I mean you can never go wrong with Billy Martin and Calvin Weston. Period. They know how to fit in anywhere. Marco and Skerik have played together so often that they mesh completely. They were all at their very best last night, but how could they not be? All improvised greatness that seemed like it always was supposed to be that way. Other Marco/Sullivan Hall nights, it seemed more like each one was doing their own thing and they just blended together. Not last night, it was a perfect mesh and they seemed like they play together every day. As was expected.
Actually, it was way beyond my expectations. Somewhere I knew, but it didn’t really register. There’s also the fear of bringing the expectations up too much and then getting let down. No, no, no, it was pure perfection. The sets were actually longer than in prior weeks. They also took an extra long set break.
During the 1st set, I remember thinking it can’t possibly get better than this, ever. Well, by the time the 2nd set rolled around I was already proven wrong. Kaki King and a bass player (I’m guessing her bass player) and Joe Russo sat in. Having a bass took it up a notch and made it, well, way better. I can’t believe I just said that, given how awesome the 1st set was. We even got a funkdown for a bit. I think Russo started that, but I’m not sure.
We even got a 15 minute encore due to the pleas of the crowd. We didn’t get any encores in the weeks before.
I feel really good and will think back to this show for ages to come.