Portland (April 4th)
Kohntarkosz (ap 40 minutes)
MDK (ap 38 minutes)
(Break -- Bass Drum/pedals broken)
Sl*g Tanz (ap 22 minutes)
Zombies (ap 6 minutes)
(Same set list as LA April 6th per net information)
- Stella Vander / Vocals
- Isabelle Feuillebois / Vocals
- Hervé Aknin / Vocals
- Benoit Alziary / Vibraphone
- James Mac Gaw / Guitar
- Jérémie Ternoy / Piano, Fender Rhodes
- Philippe Bussonnet / Bass Guitar
- Christian Vander / Drums, Piano, Vocals on "Wohldünt"
It was in the middle of "Sl*g Tanz" that I felt tired and thought ... why am I tired and not enjoying this?
It was at that moment, that I had a realization that I would never see this again, by anyone - not even Magma themselves, and appreciate, something that is totally beyond words, and the only thing I could do ... was have serious tears in my eyes. This first happened to me some 40 years ago, when I first saw YES, and I knew when I left the Long Beach Arena, that nothing in rock music would ever get better and stronger than "Tales from Topographic Oceans". The next time, this happened, was seeing Nektar, on the tour that they did most of "Recycled", when I thought the last piece, was a way of saying ... goodbye ... I'm tired ... sick ... disappointed ... unable to continue. Maybe I am overly attached to some of these things, but that's like saying that people out there are not attached to "Stairway to Heaven" or "Layla" or Elvis!
In the end, this was just another of the great performances that MAGMA has put forth for so many years, which they first showed the American West side on the SF International Progressive Music Festival in 1999. On that day, I was scared, thinking that MAGMA would either be horrible, or it would be fantastic. And I totally forgot that this owner of several of MAGMA's albums -- about 11 of them with one definitly live! -- were sounding fantastic, to the point that I hoped that once in my life I would have a chance to see something like this in person ... and experience, some of the best designed choral pieces ever devised by a human in the history of music! I say "choral pieces", because, honestly, there is no other way to define it. And it almost makes one wonder what a larger choir would do to this ... float us into the stratosfear? Might be scary for some, I suppose!
Portland, on this Saturday Night, was not sold out, but it was quite full and comfortable, which is nice, and the Alladin is a nice place for these things. Accoustics are OK, not perfect, but there really isn't a bad seat in the house.
And they went right at it from the start. Khontarkosz started out and went in its entirety for the whole 40 some minutes. you know right away that this is about to go "great" within a minute! And by the end of the piece, it was already hard to come up with words to describe it ... you're already in another land! And when it's over, after Stella catches her breath she says ... we first did that in 1973! (album 1974 per Wiki).
Right away they went into MDK, and again, and our audience applauded its beginning. If this sounds any better, or worse, than it did 40 years ago, let me know! I can't tell the difference!
Right at the end of it, there was a problem with the Bass Drum, or its parts, and it took a good amount of time to fix. I, fondly, remembered their show in SF when Christian had to spend a good 20 to 25 minutes nailing the drum set down ... and now, I was not surprised that more parts didn't break, because the accents and strength of the drumming was there like none other at all.
When ready to roll, they went into (what I think was) Sl*g Tanz and that closed the show. I am not sure that Portland was ready for this, but the fans that came, sure were. You could almost tell that the French contingent was here ... and it was neat to see ... I'm not the only one that loves these things!
They returned after a very warm applause and did one more piece, that appears to be "Zombies" from Udu Wudu.
Of special mention for this show, from my point of view, were Stella, Christian and Phillipe that pretty much dominated the whole thing. It feels weird to tell you that Jeremie, James, Benoit, Isabelle, and specially Herve, were not outstanding, because they were superb. Herve might turn out to be the best of them all in his lead role for the singing, but Stella, you could tell, was ready to expand and fly at any moment, any where in the music, and I think that some moments were not rehearsed and were just there. It sounded too well defined and designed to come off as true, and sometimes, this is what an improvisational moment can create for you.
All in all, just like before, this was a phenomenal concert and I am just totally surprised that Portland was a stop for them, and I was concerned that only half the building would be filled, but it looked better than that. Portland is not known for being adventurous in its music tastes, when you consider that "Return to Forever" did not play in Portland ... it went to Eugene instead into a Music Hall that was much better suited for them anyway.
it's a treat, that even though this might be the last concert I will ever see, that in the very least, what I have always told people is that they have to grab these things when they happen, because they won't be around otherwise and never again as visible as they can be. Seeing this in person is a different experience than listening to it on a CD or good stereo. it validates its strength and that it can be done at any time and place. And Portland was one such place for one day in this century, so far!
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