Saturday, December 22, 2007

Adrian Belew Reviews The New Adrian Belew Record.

by the time I finish a record I've likely heard it a gazillion times. it is at that point I put it away and stop listening to it. for a long time. that's the only possible way I might enjoy it in the same fresh way as someone who just purchased it. well, somewhat. if I've waited long enough I can at least have an initial response, though I can't be totally surprised.

it had been what? two months? since I last heard side four (live) and the time seemed ripe when last night I donned headphones in the serenity of my studio and listened to our latest release.

"Ladies and gentlemen put your hands together and welcome adrian belew's power trio..."
first thought: wowee! the energy and excitement is palpable! I feel as though I'm in the front row! john sinks (live recording) and saul zonana (mixing) certainly did their jobs well. it's a visceral experience and does not have that annoying hole in the middle that so many live records have.

second thought: eric and julie are simply sensational. as the record flows along I keep coming back to this one notion: eric and julie both play exactly what I would like to play. their tastes are so paired to mine and to their own abilities (which are stunning). this is powerful stuff.

which brings me to my only criticism of the record: the guitar playing! there are indeed times when I (the guitarist) seem to lose control of the flying Parker and nearly go airborne. at first I thought maybe that knock on the noggin I received jumping on stage really did affect me. but as I listen further through the record I realize not as an excuse but as a fact, one of my pedals was giving me problems that night (what's new) and in the couple of places I note where the guitar goes off it is because of that same pedal problem. c'est la vie.

from the beginning I envisioned this as a true live experience, warts and all as they say, and so left things the way they actually happened. most "live" records are so doctored as to be more "live in the studio" than "live on stage". it is worth noting that eric and julie never lose control, playing flawlessly throughout. (yow! I better start practicing!)

something which slips by easily unnoticed are the vocals. that's a good thing. the vocals are right on, not an easy thing to do live. and biff's harmonies add a sense of perfection usually found only in the studio.

did we use too much reverb on the drums? that thought occurred to me at some point, but NO, I think it is exactly as it should be. rarely do I listen back to my own recordings and wish I'd done something different and side four (live) is for me a perfect time capsule of the band in February 2007. it was a good evening despite the thick snow outside and the trio did what it always does. excite.

my last thoughts have to do with the krimson material. krimson music of the 80's and early 90's has now become so imbedded as to create a kind of benchmark. either you can play the stuff or you cannot. I'm very proud of the fresh intensity the power trio brings to this music and thankful to the years of hard work and sacrifice it took king crimson to make it. songs like thela hun jingeet or three of a perfect pair stand the test of time remarkably well. and dinosaur has found new life in trio form. which brings me to a very important point I want to make...


  1. Hi Ade!

    Your post today is such a wonderful - and most appreciated - surprise.... It is such a treat to gain some insight into music making/recording/listening from the artists' point of view...especially concerning their own material - so very interesting and enlightening. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    I finally received my second copy of Side Four Live (my original 'signed' copy is still trying to catch up with us - after our recent 'cross country move).... And I find myself reaching for it over and over again (mind you - a Belew creation always dominates the disc player in this household/car). I just cannot get enough of this incredibly brilliant live performance!

    We have been completely 'Belew'n' away by the 'fullness' of the Trio's sound, not to mention also by the mega-huge talents of the Uber-Slick Duo of Julie and Eric! Man can they both play - and well beyond their tender years! Absolute Phenoms! And I just adore their fresh approach to these well-seasoned 'Belew-epics'.... given such a mighty jolt of energy and vitality that leaves me wishing I could have seen it all LIVE! What a night it must have been...

    And those Crimson songs - I can't believe I'm even thinking it, but Julie played TLev's bass lines even BETTER than the King of the Bass! And don't even get me started on Eric....what a monster drummer!

    IMHO Robert Fripp made a HUGE mistake in not selecting Eric (that is IF he was available - and we already know that he belongs to Ade!)(AND JULIE too) - to play in the newest KC construKct!
    But KC's loss is the ABPT's win. And if this is just the beginning - I can't wait to see what the 'future-vision' of this combination of Ace's has up it's sleeves...

    The Adrian Belew POWER Trio kicks serious butt - long live the Trio of Terror!

  2. I am dying to hear it! Hope it will be on iTunes soon! (NUDGE NUDGE ;-)

  3. Two days til I get my copy. I told my wife if she wasn't giving it to me for Christmas she was to tell me so I could get it a month earlier. My Christmas music will be ABPT Side Four on repeat. In the old days you could "melt the turntable" with really hot music. Can you melt a cd player? I'll let you know.

  4. "this is powerful stuff"

    Yes it is Adrian. Yes it is.

  5. I truely love the disc. your insights are so fun, thanks. can't wait to see you in cleveland in 08. Is there a chance you'll premier some songs you've writtenb with eric and julie on the tour?

  6. This is the post I put on Robin Slick's Blog (why reinvent the wheel?):

    Hi Robin,

    I forgot to thank-you on the show for the Side 4 promo. The DJ who was on before me was down in the dumps as he was leaving. As soon as I put on the first song of Side 4, his face lit up with a big smile and he said "alright." It is my pleasure to play the Side 4 CD and I will continue to do so as it is the best piece of new music that I have heard in a long time. It has been a pleasure to interact with you and I would like to keep up with you-all over time. Keep me in mind for any efforts to address the damage that has been done to our commercial airwaves. You know where to find me,

    Addition: My show Mojo Ballroom is also offering the "1 Adrian Belew Power Trio Guarantee 'Rock Shot'" for each show(or double your money back,) for an open-ended period of time. Check it out here Monday nights from 11-12:00 a.m. on WCOM-LP, Chapel Hill/Carrboro

    I'm a player so get in line

    Famous Jonny Mambo