Don't click or your IP will be banned


Hittin' The Web with the Allman Brothers Band Forum
You are not logged in

< Last Thread   Next Thread >Ascending sortDescending sorting  
Author: Subject: Wall Street Journal interview w/ Derek and Doyle

A Peach Supreme





Posts: 2814
(2824 all sites)
Registered: 8/3/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/4/2007 at 10:35 AM
Slightly unusual to find an interview like this in the Wall Street Journal. The reporter, it turns out, has written about music for years and did this research in preparation for an upcoming story in Guitar World....

The Expat Life: When Music Is Magic At the 'Expat Prom'

By Alan Paul

2 February 2007 - The Wall Street Journal

I listen to music all day long, but nothing compares to the feeling that washes over me at a great live show. At once meditative and adrenaline pumping, it's something I need to experience every once in a while. Unfortunately, doing so has proven quite difficult in Beijing, where every large venue is currently closed for Olympics renovation.

That is why I didn't hesitate to fly to Shanghai to see Eric Clapton last week. A couple of years ago, I passed on a free ticket to see Clapton at Madison Square Garden in favor of playing some mediocre blues in a friend's basement. I could have attended that show for a $10 train ticket and a 30-minute ride. This one cost $500, plus two days of my life and about 1,400 miles of traveling, but I never considered not going.

I sometimes find myself wrestling with just how much American popular culture to seek out. I welcome the virtual absence of TV from my life, but scramble to find new episodes of "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and "Deadwood." I don't miss going to movies but I embrace podcasts. A voice inside me says that I should be exploring China instead of spending my time and money on something I might do "back home." But this concert was different. I had to go.

Music has always been important to me. In eighth grade, I chose the late Allman Brothers guitarist Duane Allman as the subject of my "Biography of a Great American" assignment. Twenty years ago, I profiled blues guitarist Buddy Guy for my college newspaper and I've been getting paid to do similar stories ever since. The music I love has given me a livelihood, but also much more. It has become a part of me, which is why news of the Clapton show was so exciting.

I also had good reason to think that this would be a particularly stirring concert. Mr. Clapton's current band includes two guitarists I have long admired, Doyle Bramhall 2 and Derek Trucks, whom I have covered for Guitar World magazine for 15 years, since he was an 11-year-old phenom. Though I wanted to attend the concert as a "civilian" -- letting the music wash over me rather than analyzing it and turning it into a job -- I couldn't resist the lure of a good story about someone whose career I have followed for so long. I arranged to take Derek and Doyle out for a lunch interview the afternoon of the show. (The story will appear in Guitar World.)

We enjoyed great soup dumplings, noodles and oolong tea, but my real nourishment came from conducting the interview. It was the kind of music-oriented dialogue I have steered countless times, but rarely since moving to China. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I waded back in.

After lunch, we rode over to the Dong Tai Lu antiques market, where we strolled down narrow lanes filled with tiny shops selling old cameras, phonographs, ethnic-minority goods and more. Derek and Doyle enjoyed being out in the real China. Like any first-class business travelers, they often find themselves snugly secure in the comfy but homogeneous international-hotel bubble. Busting out for a brief exploration was a relief, one I was happy to guide. I dropped them back at the Four Seasons, then rode over to my hotel, bizarrely located inside Shanghai Stadium. The location was perfect for the concert, which was next door at the 8,500-seat Grand Stage.

My friend Matt had secured a block of 10 tickets and at 6 p.m., we gathered in a suite for Tsingtao beers and chips with several other Beijing contingents --obviously, I wasn't the only one craving musical sustenance. On the short walk to the arena, we passed through a wall of scalpers and several smiling, chain-smoking military policemen. The Backstreet Boys concert I attended in Beijing last year featured intense security, with dozens of military policemen and strange seating arrangements that divided the Chinese crowd into small sections on the floor.

In contrast, walking into the Clapton show didn't feel too different from entering a concert in America. An Australian usher asked if we could find our seats and smiled as we said yes. We settled into the 10th row, and I took in the crowd, which was about 80% Western around us, less so in the arena's further reaches. A Chinese lady in front of me appeared to be both bored and annoyed all night, as if she would rather be anywhere else.

Most of the crowd looked enraptured but subdued, likely due to Clapton's avoidance of many of his hits. Instead of playing "Tears in Heaven," "After Midnight" or "I Shot the Sheriff," he dug deep into his archives, opening the show with five songs from his old band, Derek and the Dominos. While others may have been puzzled by the song selection, it was just what the doctor ordered for me. An impassioned version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" was a holy moment, offering just the musical cleansing I craved. He also barely addressed the crowd and while this surely riled some fans, I gave him props for not uttering a lame, "Ni hao, Shanghai."

The set ended with a fiery version of "Layla," which finally swept the crowd off its feet. As the band took a group bow and walked off waving, I heard wild screaming behind me and smiled at the sight of three Chinese guys gleefully yelling and stomping their feet.

When the group returned for an encore, a rush of people surged forward. I joined them and we ran right to the lip of the stage. It suddenly felt very much like we were in a high-school gym, like Eric Clapton was playing the expat prom. Pushing gently together and straining to see over the little girl on her dad's shoulders in front of me, I had a homey feeling. Standing in Shanghai just feet away from Eric Clapton playing "Crossroads," a favorite old blues tune, felt like nothing less than winking at life.

Then it was over. People stomped and cheered and clapped, and I felt certain a second encore was coming, but the house lights came on and a disappointed sigh ran through the hall. We filed out into the cold, drizzly night, walking amidst a crowd buzzing with that familiar en masse, post-concert high.

We retreated to a bar on the 12th floor of my hotel, overlooking the lit, empty soccer stadium and the expat prom continued well into the wee hours. One of the people in our group, someone I don't know well, said to me, "You really looked like you were feeling it tonight, with your eyes closed and that look on your face." I have no idea what I looked like but I knew exactly what he meant.

The next day, I bumped into an acquaintance on the flight back. "That was a lot of travel for a little bit of concert," he said. "But it sure was good."

Exactly.

 

____________________
"We are all travelers in this world, from the sweet grass to the packin' house, birth til death, we travel between the eternities."

 
Replies:

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 24883
(25865 all sites)
Registered: 5/5/2004
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/4/2007 at 10:48 AM
Thanks for posting this!!!

 

____________________




 

Extreme Peach



Karma:
Posts: 1547
(1547 all sites)
Registered: 3/26/2005
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/4/2007 at 12:32 PM
I'd like to have lunch with Derek

 

____________________
Drew Smithers

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 24984
(25100 all sites)
Registered: 8/20/2004
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/4/2007 at 11:04 PM
quote:
I'd like to have lunch with Derek


Me too and I would pay

 

____________________
Co-Owner of Charlie Tabers Football

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 18687
(19089 all sites)
Registered: 7/2/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/5/2007 at 09:07 AM
Great interview.

One time derek thought I bought him (and Mike) dinner...but I was honest enough to admit it wasn't me...

 
E-Mail User

World Class Peach



Karma:
Posts: 5395
(5395 all sites)
Registered: 9/8/2006
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/5/2007 at 09:22 AM
thanks for posting........

 

____________________
dadof2

 

Extreme Peach



Karma:
Posts: 1547
(1547 all sites)
Registered: 3/26/2005
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/5/2007 at 02:48 PM
quote:
Great interview.

One time derek thought I bought him (and Mike) dinner...but I was honest enough to admit it wasn't me...

I bought Derek and Mike dinner with my dad up in Albany before their show at WAMC Radio show. What a great experience. Then we ended up talking to Rico and the Count so we bought them dinner too.

 

____________________
Drew Smithers

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 18593
(18594 all sites)
Registered: 11/20/2006
Status: Offline

  posted on 2/5/2007 at 05:49 PM
Excellent story, enigamajean! Thanks for sharing this. Now, I'm actually going out to buy Rolling Stone this month. Don't care much for that magazine any more but I think it is a cool thing that Derek is going to be on the cover and that they are recognizing/honoring his guitar work.

 

____________________
"Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe and I will buy you a bottle of wine, and we'll laugh and toast to nothing and smash our empty glasses down..."

 
 


Powered by XForum 1.81.1 by Trollix Software


Privacy | Terms of Service
The ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND name, The ALLMAN BROTHERS name, likenesses, logos, mushroom design and peach truck are all registered trademarks of THE ABB MERCHANDISING CO., INC. whose rights are specifically reserved. Any artwork, visual, or audio representations used on this web site CONTAINING ANY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS are under license from The ABB MERCHANDISING CO., INC. A REVOCABLE, GRATIS LICENSE IS GRANTED TO ALL REGISTERED PEACH CORP MEMBERS FOR The DOWNLOADING OF ONE COPY FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. ANY DISTRIBUTION OR REPRODUCTION OF THE TRADEMARKS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE PROHIBITED AND ARE SPECIFICALLY RESERVED BY THE ABB MERCHANDISING CO.,INC.
site by Hittin' the Web Group with www.experiencewasabi3d.com