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Losing My Tempo - Pat Metheny's "The Orchestrion Tour"
baby panda

Hate to start LJ-ing with a rant, but that's what a live performance will do for you; love it or hate it,you won't be indifferent because you just spent time and money on another person (or persons) with no ulterior motive, i.e. sex, f'rinstance, other than to see them do their thing.

I jotted down some notes in the brief and dim illumination between numbers - fixating on P's bushy hair helmet during first two acoustic guitar numbers...jazzy with some bossa nova and joni mitchell overtones...what is that strange guitar he's using for No. 3?...looks like guitar version of siamese twins...he's a 1-man band....masturbatory...backdrop going up...oh no!...stacks of people....he's playing the the whole concert by looking set...small blue lights on each instrument so you know when it's plonking, plinking, shaking or banging...a crystal ball?....narcissistic arrogant....ugh...sounds like a Vegas casino when everyones winning.

I should have been tweeting, but the light from from phone would have had the people around me doing that hissing thing that seems particular to the Bay Area.  Given my antipathy toward old Pat tonight, perhaps getting myself thrown out of Zellerbach Hall would have been appropriate.

Here's Himself on his latest CD, Orchestrion, recently released on Nonesuch:

Basically, this is a solo recording because Pat, well, plays with himself.  And sadly, that was my visceral reaction to tonight's live performance.  All the instruments are stacked in 4 tiers behind him, some in crate-like frames.  The set could be in a garage and designed by an 11-yr. old boy.  Bracketed by 2 hutches with bottles that light up, the whole stage is bad 70s retro.  I think on purpose, but I could be giving too little credit.  And since I've already gone there, he's wearing a shapeless black tshirt and, when shredding his various guitars and guitar-like thingies, his neck is often at a 90-degree angle and all you can see is a large tribble bobbing over the guitar.  Yeah, we sat in the balcony, bt his hair is *really* overcompensating.

Oh Pat, where art thou?  Emphasis on the where art because there ain't nothing new here.  Fanboys abound at Metheny concerts, but this was a geek introvert's wet dream - play with yourself and your toys.  Yes, yes, he has an elaborate explanation which we probably "won't get" but the immediate impression which lingered throughout the hour-and-a-half was just surreal and self indulgent.  Look, the dude played to the player piano (actually a player baby grand piano) most of the concert.

What is original about instruments that are programmed, or simply keep up a certain tempo?  Or play along with Pat?  It's not electronica, it's not AI, it's not innovative.  Maybe it hasn't been done before, but so what?  It's boring, musically and visually.

Sorry, Pat, I think you're going through a mid-life crisis.  This is not a charm to ward off the grim reaper.  Buy a red convertible or get a hot young girlfriend.  Put the Orchestrion back in mothballs.  And get a hair cut.


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