This isn’t a comprehensive review, I was far to busy enjoying the performance to remember all the detail required to document a stunning event but here goes with a few memories…
Pat Metheny walked onto the stage of the Michael Fowler Centre and began his first ever New Zealand performance with a baritone guitar solo. I didn’t recognise the tune at first, he later said was an improvisation, but it evolved into a variation of Last Train Home that set the scene for an awesome evening. I was sitting close enough to see the delicate finger-work & complex techniques that result in that unique Metheny sound. As much as I enjoy the DVD’s it was wonderful to finally see Pat perform without a director intruding!
From intimate solo’s, including one on the 42 String Pikasso Guitar, to powerful electro-acoustic tours, accompanied by the excellent Antonio Sanchez (Drums) and Christian McBride (Acoustic Bass), every aspect of this Trio’s combined talents were revealed. The performance ranged from some of Pat’s earliest works, Bright Size Life, to “group tracks” like So May It Secretly Begin, from Still Life (Talking), artfully rearranged for the Trio. I was rapt when they played Always and Forever, a favourite of mine from Secret Story. Pat mentioned a new track, as yet unnamed other than “No 13”, was written for the Trio & maybe a new CD “if they get time in the studio”. I hope they do.
I was expecting a more “traditional jazz trio” sound, which was there at times, but this combination also rocked with sound levels that threatened to blast open the theatre doors! A standing ovation led to a blues’ey encore, with Christian on electric bass for the first time, followed by another standing ovation as a happy looking Trio left the stage. It appeared they had a good time, it was apparent the audience certainly did.
I chose to drive down to Wellington for the weekend. Monday was a stunning day and the nine hour drive home, with a Metheny soundtrack all the way (Travels, One Quiet Night, The Way Up, First Circle and more), was a memorable end to a wonderful weekend (just look at Mt Ruapehu right).
Live, the Pat Metheny Trio was electrifying, just as the festival promotion promised – now we have to lure him back to New Zealand with the group!
NZ Performance discussion, and “kiwihead”s posting of Tyler Hersey’s much more comprehensive review, at the Pat Metheny Group Listener Network.