Four Play ::: Live Performances ::: They're ALIVE!


Hello! Today I'd like to offer up a look into some of my choice live performances that mean something special to my musical and artistic journey. In an ongoing excursion into what makes my musical brain tick, I'm happy to open up the veil and share these with you. These four live performances all occupy the same requirement --- they are ALIVE! I'll be looking forward to showcasing many future live performances, so please don't take this as a definitive "favorites list" as they are just a portrait of what I look for in the moment of performance. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Santana // Soul Sacrifice // Woodstock 1969

Quite possibly one of the most influential performances of all time and definitely my favorite moment from Carlos Santana, is the performance of "Soul Sacrifice" from Woodstock in 1969. I was introduced to this footage many moons ago from an old friend and we would watch it over and over... replaying the incredible footage from an old VCR tape of the Woodstock documentary. I was in awe of the very young drummer Michael Shrieve's incredible introduction to the blistering rendition of Soul Sacrifice. I find Carlos Santana's playing, tone and whole vibe so invigorated and it's definitely my favorite moment from him. I would spend hours watching the video, imitating his movements on the guitar, down to the crazy little volume, tone and pickup selector movements... not knowing the truth until much later in life that Santana was extremely high on LSD at the time and he was trying to control his guitar that kept materializing into a snake! LSD or not, I saw this performance as being as close to the embers of the sun as possible --- it's true beauty of the moment, which while fleeting, can last forever.

Daniel Lanois // Orange Kay // Session at West 54th

Daniel Lanois' solo performance of "Orange Kay" on the PBS special Sessions at West 54th, is a pinnacle moment where tonal landscapes can take real form. Lanois, a magician of many mediums as well as being one of the most inspiring music producers, takes on his instrumental piece Orange Kay in solo form with percussive loops surrounding his exploding guitar notes. Lanois crafts incredible fuzz tones and a tonal landscape, encompassing of the ride into the darkness it resembles. Written for the soundtrack of the film Sling Blade, Orange Kay is an homage to the fuzz pedal used to yield the massive, gurgling, sonic mayhem that is the song. Many guitarists seek the deep, dark, and mysterious tones of an amplifier about to blow up. Setting the amp on fire with the most glorious of sounds, Lanois is quite famous for creating this type of sound. Orange Kay is one of those pieces of magic, and where he goes while achieving it, is just something truly special. 

Michael Landau // Ghouls And The Goblins // Live at The Baked Potato

Ah... Michael Landau, the guitarists' guitarist. This master of tones and incredible otherworldly playing, is a major facet in the guitar universe. Even if you don't know Landau's name, you've certainly heard his work on many popular songs since the early 90's. He is currently touring with, and a long time member of, both the James Taylor and Steve Gadd Band, as well as a fluid solo career. It goes without saying that Landau is a major influence in my life musically and tonally, and I'm happy to get a chance to share one of my favorite performances caught at the very intimate famed Jazz venue, The Baked Potato. "Ghouls And The Goblins" is a fully instrumental piece that lives within so many different layers of sound and ideas. It's a literal pot of gold as far as I'm concerned, and showcases Landau's innate ability to create the entirety of a diverse musical landscape with his fingers, phrasing and tones, are quite the sight to behold. The communication that exists between the players and the improvisation is to me one of the purest examples of why I personally love making music, specifically in a live environment. It's an exhilarating moment I try to live in as much as possible. 

Brandi Carlile // The Things I Regret // The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

As a big music carnivore, I keep a watchful eye on the Late Night TV scene and often record most of the shows purely for the musicians and artists who might be featured on each episode. I do this in part to catch the groups I love and get perspective on rising talent. It's part of my due diligence to constantly allow new music in my life and I love every moment of it. Every once in a while I'll come across a performance that is so inspiring and raw that I literally can't bring myself to erase the episode from my television's DVR recorder. Case in point with Brandi Carlile's performance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. "The Things I Regret" is a showcase in raw emotion that to me emotes the essence of a fight song to the highest degree. Carlile and her band pull you in with the anthemic folk romp while she tears you down only to build you right back up. It's an incredible performance that makes the hairs on my skin jump and my heart race, fuel to a fire that anyone with a beating in their heart can share.

Let them roll over me
Let them roll over me
Let them roll over me
Let them roll over me

Let the ground keep my bones
Let the water be my home
Let the dust hold my soul,
Like a holy rolling stone