It was one of the best shows I've EVER seen. One of my favorite music acts of all time performed their first show in Atlanta, and I was there to witness it at the Variety Playhouse in the Little Five Points district. This winter, they have embarked on a larger than usual US and European tour to promote the new album 'The Crying Light'.
Here is the beautiful and haunting album cover:
My friend Chris, who lives in Charlotte, NC, suggested back in December that we see this show the minute he saw the tour dates posted. I am a HUGE fan of Antony and the Johnsons. (You might even hear Antony's influence in my own music. ) Due to financial constraints, I don't usually plan big trips just to see a show, but this was different. I felt that this was something I would regret if I didn't do it. So, I saved up a little stash of cash and was able to head down to Atlanta, Georgia last Saturday morning.
I didn't know then that I was in for one of the most amazing concert experiences of my life. Built on solid musicianship and the unmistakable voice and emotion of Antony, the performance was a subtle and understated tour de force in front of a full venue. (It gave me a template of how I hope to do my shows in the future.)
There is no one out there even remotely like Antony and the Johnsons. Quite obviously, I love this band largely because their lead singer is also a piano player. He sat at a grand piano offering up delicate little flourishes the whole night--adding nuance, lightness, and grace to a lot of the darker themes in his heartfelt music. His band was equipped with two violinists, one cello, acoustic guitar, a horn player (I couldn't see what kind.), drums, bass, and a wind instrument of some sort. Antony gave such a stirring performance all the while leading his band of musicians to these euphoric and mournful places. It really was so enchanting.
I think I also managed to get the best seat in the house. Front row, at the very left corner. My view was of Antony sitting at the piano directly in front of me at a distance of about 15 feet. This was an experience I will never forget.
After the show, about thirty or so fans, myself included, waited by his tour bus and got to meet him. He was very friendly and willing to talk to everyone. I gave him a copy of my album "Seahorses" in exchange for an autograph on his cd . . .
Here is a picture of Antony just a few feet away from me after the show:
Here's a promo shot for a better idea of who I am talking about:
I still can't believe I got to meet him. Life can be so extraordinary.
Antony is a rare and delicate gem of an artist. What he does is just so uniquely beautiful--an exotic flavor that tastes strange at first but unleashes its richness in soft, undulating waves.
Here is a youtube video with my favorite song off the new album (so far).
I present to you 'Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground' . . .
Here is the new official video for another song from 'The Crying Light". It's called 'Epilepsy Is Dancing' . . .
I need to sit with this new album a while longer, but I will give it a full review within the next couple of weeks.
I love Antony and the Johnsons. If he is performing in a town near you, just go. It will be a show you will remember forever.
My niece just woke up. She beckons.
Make no mistake. I am a huge fan of the band Antony and the Johnsons. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that they hold something special in their music. I love them even more knowing that Antony himself is a fellow pianist. Earlier this year, I had the chance to see them in concert in Atlanta. It was by far one of the most beautiful shows I'd ever been to. Antony is just magical onstage. I got to sit in the front row and right in front of him sitting at gorgeous grand piano. On their latest album "The Crying Light", I have to say that the very first song is my favorite. It is called, "Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground", and it is just a stunner--rich, haunting, otherworldly, and mesmerizing all at once. This week's Video of the Week is footage of a very recent live performance of this song in Amsterdam with the Metropole Orchestra. If you ever get a chance to see Antony and the J0hnsons live, just go. What you will experience will stay with you for a very long while . . . . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQQBsZxqdFI] Here are the lyrics:Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground Lyrics and Music by Antony and Nick HegartyHer eyes are underneath the ground I have heard the crying soundNo one can stop you now No one can stop you nowHer eyes are basking in the sun No one knows why she did the things she’s doneOcean, swallow me now Ocean, swallow me nowIn the garden, with my mother I stole a flower With my mother, in her power I stole a flowerI saw six eyes glistening in my womb I felt you calling me in the gloomRest assured your love is pure Rest assured your love is pureIn the garden, with my mother I stole a flower With my mother, in her power I chose a flower _______________________________________________________ The new Antony and the Johnson's album "The Crying Light" is now available everywhere!! It is music with a melancholy tenderness--sweetness and sorrow walking hand in hand. Gosh, I love this band. -gordon
August 28, 1998 is a day that forever changed my life. That night, in the late summer, I was introduced to live music when my dad took me to my first concert to see Pearl Jam on their "Yield Tour" in Philadelphia Camden, NJ. Unlike many of my other friends who attended concerts before their 10th birthdays, I have no reason to be embarrassed of this first in my life.
This post is not about the album. This is about the tour that happened in support of the album. I still have very vivid memories of my first concert, and I would like to put them into words before the haze of years past begins to erode them. I don't remember when it was decided that I would be the one accompanying my dad to the show, but I do remember the lead-up to the show. I remember Dad getting home from work, dialing up the interwebs (not as easy as it is now), and trying to point to and explain things that, at the time, I barely understood.
"You see here? Mudhoney and Iggy Pop are opening."
I had no idea what that meant, but I smiled, nodded, and assumed that the band pre-announced the first two songs they would play for every night of their tour (it was a learning experience for sure). The day of the show we went to KFC and picked up a bigger box of chicken than I knew was offered by the Colonel. We drove about an hour to Camden, ample time to make the chicken a perfect, tailgating lukewarm.