Sunday, June 1, 2014

Steve Perry and the Eels - it's not "one night only" as fans see him again in DC (updated)

It happened again at the Lincoln Theatre, in Washington, DC.

He delivered:
It's a Motherf*cker
Only Sixteen (a Sam Cooke cover)
Open Arms
Lovin', Touchin', Squeezing.


He told short stories in between songs, including a heartfelt mention of 'the love of his life" whose passing made him rekindle his love for The Eels' "It's a Motherf*cker."

The storytelling/singing is exactly the kind of tour I talked about in my essay after his first appearance. Limited shows, smaller venues, no stadiums, giving him freedom to be relaxed and enjoy himself. So glad he's also not discouraging of all the viral video (the selfie vid is hilarious and wonderful!). It's a real gift to fans not present at these surprise events.
"I would be perfectly happy to see Steve Perry do a couple of "Evenings With" concerts, filmed with an audience (bucket list item - to be there!) in Storytellers style. He doesn't even have to sing any Journey tunes. He's apparently got plenty of original material written and in demo form. It would be fantastic for him to do some R&B, blues stuff - the one genre he excels at that the current iteration of Journey unfortunately steers clear of in favor of the Dirty Dozen + a couple of deeper cuts."
I was blown away by the difference between the Minneapolis appearance and this one! The difference in confidence level surely represents the public response to the first. He reached back and just cut completely loose here, and he relaxed. His vocal cords came alive. And despite the bad hip, he was busting a few classic moves, as well. :)

As Ross Muir wrote in his analysis of Mr. Perry's voice, "One in a Million," he's a freak of nature. To be out of performing circulation for 20 years and to be able to bring back a much-improved performance over just a few days (his range and vibrato were in better, exhilarating form this go-round) was pretty awesome. He can't turn the clock back to 1978 and tour -- with his 2014 voice, but this was enough to make you shed a tear and want to hear his pace, and on his terms.

This format suits him, a small, organic musical environment, not amped up with rock tour dressing, drowning him out in some reunion of "glory days." People, er, "fans," out on the Internet began screeching at one another over whether SP's re-emergence as a sign that he must Journey (been there, done that) or that he sucks completely. These are exactly the kind of people Perry needs to ignore.

I'm also glad he's also not discouraging of all the viral video (the selfie vid is hilarious and wonderful!). It's a real gift to fans not present at these surprise events. It says it all about his healthy mindset:

I think he's probably still somewhat on the same page as he was in a 2012 interview since when people say "touring" they immediately think of him going on the road w/Journey doing like the old days. Not. Going. To. Happen. I think these recent appearances suggest he's warming up US to the idea that limited scope appearances and tours are something he'd entertain. No pressures to do 100 dates, etc.

The lesson: Just enjoy life. It's too short.

UPDATE: 6/2: Mr. Perry spoke about his appearances as just "for fun" (as it should be), and gave his insight on his voice now vs. then -- a nice reality check for fans thinking he can recreate the past.

He says of his moment in the spotlight: "When E announced me I thought I’d take the piss and hang back a while. But finally I’m out there; the audience saw me, and I hadn’t experienced that kind of emotion in quite a while. It was beyond exhilarating. 
"I was so grateful that they were so loving and happy to see me. I was just as happy to see them. I had forgotten how much I’d missed it.” 
Asked if he was happy with his performance, he replies: "Well, I hadn’t sung in 20 years – I sounded more like Otis Redding than I did in Journey; and I love Otis, so that’s not a bad thing. But after twenty years, wherever you hit that golf ball is where it lands. I just wanted to go out there and hit the ball. I was pretty pleased with what I pulled off. 
"I’m not the person I was thirty years ago; that person is gone."

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