boatman view

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wah wah

 

Phil Spector is at the control board in full charge of producing The Concert for Bangladesh album.  It should have been no surprise when the fully amped multiple guitar wall of sound of George Harrison’s “Wah-Wah” came blasting off the stage and hit us head on.  The really big show has begun.

 

For those of you not familiar with “Wah-Wah”, or Spector’s no distortion ‘wall of sound’ recordings, let me try.  First of all, get familiar with it.  Too many good people with no idea of the experience I struggle to describe, you that do know need to help me out here.  Picture you and your sweetheart standing mellow on the train track softly talking when the diesel locomotive one foot away from you sounds the horn, and you are tasered at the same time.  Oh yeah, Spector’s wah wah is that good.

 

Even though the crowd has respected Ravi Shankar’s request for no smoking during his set, I now sensed the possibility of individuals enjoying some freedoms.  George Harrison leads an inspirational performance of “My Sweet Lord”.  Crying feels good.  “That’s The Way God Planned It”, Billy Preston is bringing a lively bounce to the service as he leaves his bench at the organ, dancing jubilantly across the stage and back to finish his beautiful song.  He is in the joy of the moment.

 

Ringo Starr is singing “It Don’t Come Easy” and it is not coming easy.  Always an audience favorite, they love him tonight.  Off-key or on key makes no difference to adoring fans.  Ringo is honest.  As he remembers most of the words his charm in performing and confident humor raise the evening’s already elevated mood to another level.

 

I think I’m pretty much in order with this.  Leon Russell adds his vocal signature to this musical document with his delivered warning to “Beware of Darkness”.  He is terrific in one of this evenings highlight performances and his presence is as attractively eerie as ever.  His voice to me always is a sound from another world getting closer.  It is very close this night.  Leon and George do some real rock n roll numbers between George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Eric Clapton, and “Here Comes The Sun”.  You that know these songs know what I’m saying now.  The beauty of what we are feeling is beyond the actual words and music.  Throughout the show this evening my friend and I are exchanging many looks of astonishment.  I still feel her grip on my arm during “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  She has to hang on to not float away. 

 

Everybody loves it, we are all just eatin’ it up as the applause and songs are interwoven.  Every song is a happening, each moment a gift.  This is becoming a spiritual experience for me and I don’t think I am alone.  You feel it.  Very unlike as youngsters in church with no connection to the message in Latin.  Adrift, without any nourishment, yet to know my need.  Awakening now to my soul’s hunger for real, right here and now at this moment in time is a message in my language.  Breathing new life, I relate, being my father’s blue eyed son.