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Antony and the Johnsons Concert in Atlanta

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' .  .  . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j688ELeNC3Y] Here is the new official video for another song from 'The Crying Light".  It's called 'Epilepsy Is Dancing' .  .  . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-leFj7DWn1Y] 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. -g

What Lasts

On Tynan

Classical music concerts are one of my favorite places to think. It sounds weird, but classical music provides just enough stimulation to keep me from becoming distracted, but not enough stimulation to impact my thinking processes. I love being able to drift from absorbing and enjoying the music to going deep in thought without really even noticing.

My violin teacher (who's great, by the way, in case you're in SF and want to learn Violin) brought me to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music last week and told me that they had free concerts by the students all the time. Perfect. Despite really enjoying the music, I'm way too ignorant to be able to tell the difference between a good student and a professional symphony player, so these shows are really a great opportunity.

On Monday I went to Matthew Linaman's (http://www.youtube.com/user/cellolinaman) cello recital at the conservatory. Have you ever noticed that people often won't take front row seats if they haven't paid for a ticket? I've noticed this at a lot of talks and smaller concerts like this. Anyway, the point is that I got to sit in the very middle of the front, and this was a small enough hall that this seat was the best seat. Most of the front row seats remained empty.

Beyond his playing (which was fantastic, by the way), I kept thinking about his Cello, Cellos in general, and stringed instruments in general. Cellos last. They get better. The craftsmanship on a good Cello, probably even an okay cello, is remarkable. I have a violin that my sister gave me, and I find myself marveling at the curves of the wood, the perfect symmetry, and the invisible joints holding it all together. It's amazing, really.

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