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Blinking Lights at The Barbican

I came upon Pat Metheny’s music late in my forties, when my fiancée encouraged me to buy his Secret Story album. From that point, we (and subsequently, our two tiny children) avidly listened to and loved most of his music (except the Zero Tolerance for Silence album, which we just didn’t understand.) We went to his concerts in the U.S. and Europe, and really became FANS. I have always had the impression that he felt happiest being a soloist, or leading a small combo an impression supported by such albums as One Quiet Night, Missouri Sky, Day Trip, Trio, I can see Your House &c. But, despite this, he seems to have the ability to bring out the talents of the other members of the particular entourage with whom he is working. For example, I have felt that Lyle Mays, Gary Burton and, particularly, Brad Mehldau, have played their best music when in studio and in concert with Pat Metheny. So, it was interesting to take our youngest - now 13 - to the Orchestrion concert in the Barbican Centre in London, where we had seen Pat gel so well with Brad Mehldau, to see how he managed to bring out the talents of a bunch of solenoids. Thankfully, he introduced the evening (almost apologetically) with a few of his original and most inventive solo instrumentals. But, all too soon, we got to the meat of the Orchestrion flashing lights (however restrained) and Heath Robinson and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang instruments cobbled together, and frequently needing adjustment by a couple of technicians scuttling around from their hiding places behind the equipment. The best parts of the concert from that moment were the solos, when most of the Orchestrion was stilled. It is an interesting experiment, and, with a lot of development, will be an intriguing way to fulfil his long held musical dream. But we missed other members in his group. And so did he ...... He wandered around the stage looking wistfully for somebody with whom to spark. However, all he found were automatons, which blinked dimly, repetitively and soullessly back at him. And so, Pat’s neon yellow sneakers were the only bright lights of the evening. But, as major fans, we will be back, to see how he develops this Orchestrion from its early stages. Meanwhile, back to Travels (Live) !

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Pat Metheny
  • Concert Date: 2/10/2010
  • Subtitle: Pat Metheny and the Orchestrion at the Barbican
  • Venue: The Barbican Centre, London, U.K.
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