OZRIC TENTACLES 1994
In Concert at La Luna, Portland, Oregon, USA

Well, the show came off real nice, and I was able to get some pictures taken during the performance.

What did I think of it.... It was excellent in many respects, and it was piss poor in others. I suppose that the worst thing that I do not like in concerts nowadays, is that the tendency has become to make sure that the guitar and bass gets heard and the rest eats it, and gets buried. One of Ozric Tentacles' best, and most interesting parts, is, to my ears, the way the keyboards, sound effects and flutes, are often used. I think I remember a few whiffs of the flute, and only one VERY CLEAR keyboard part, during a nice jam ( long too... )
between Ed and Seaweed. The rest of the time, you might as well have taken the other two players down, and not see them. Did they add anything to the show.???? Who would know the difference.?

Hopefully this is only a Portland fault, and not something that is happening at all other shows. The mix absolutely stunk, at least compared to the subtleties one finds on the records. I suppose this separates the major bands from the copies. The Ozric's came off like a band that didn't really have it yet. And as you and I know, YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME..... which means that the sound equipment people stunk up the joint, and hurt the band in the process. But this does not explain why Ed's guitar and keyboards were clear the whole time, or Seaweed having to reach for lines and cords under his feet all the time.

As for the music. YES. YES. I wish I had the titles of all the cuts, and do remember some excellent versions of Vita Voom, and many other things that I have heard. But better yet, were the two extended jams, one of which I understand is not named, one of which featured a very nice keyboard exchange between Ed and Seaweed. It actually reminded me, for a few minutes, that I was seeing Tangerine Dream.... and soon the guitars join in, to make it a special treat. Aside from the bass player appearing to have a few problems keeping up with the fast pace here and there, he was very steady, if not specially alive, and not able to play around, and add to the musicality of the event. The drummer, could have used a few hits of acid (sorry), and maybe a few lessons in less time keeping, but he did do very well, and did not appear lost at all.

Ed's guitar work was without a doubt the best part of the whole show. He could be heard, and even without a spot light, could be seen in the dark stage, and basically took a slight back seat, apparently to make sure that his less experienced, and obviously younger, band mates would be able to make it through. But his moments were excellent, and he was not afraid to add things, and experiment, whenever he felt like it. Given that his sound quality was the only clear one at all times, it's kind of surprising that we didn't have a one man show.

Keyboards.... maybe if they get added to the tour, and heard, or mixed into the music, it might be worth reviewing. As it stood, it felt like an accessory to whatever the greater whole was supposed to be. Bass.... steady, but afraid to lose it during the fast parts. Nice, though. Those of us who have played can appreciate the difficulty in playing fast and accurately, rather than slow blues. Flutes.... what flutes.???? Had we been able to hear him, I might be able to tell you something about him. Very sad part, because I have always felt that this was one area that added so much mood to the band.

I guess that the emphasis was on rock'n'roll, not the music and sound of the band. This part is disappointing to me. If I want rock'n'roll I can go to the Bs lounge to catch it. I wanted Ozric Tentacles, not rock'n'roll. I missed the things that add atmospherics to the music. The keyboards, the subtleties.

In my estimation, this is not a good way to display a band to America. There wasn't the "difference" that makes them stand out. They were good, very good. But I do not think that they will stand out beyond being considered a jam band, as the local Willamette Week said that they were, and that you couldn't expect serious music from those kind of bands. I still think that Ozric Tentacles is more than a jam ( garage ) band. I just would like to see them when they are far beyond that.

Concert 4.5 GIBLOONS
Lights 5/5 GIBLOONS
Guitars 5/5 GIBLOONS
Keyboard player 4.5/5 GIBLOONS
Keyboard sound/sound mix -10k/5 Gibloons
Up front/flute player Was he there? Portland doesn't do music. Portland does rock'n'roll, so if you have keyboards and anything else be ready to lose it!

After the show,  I decided to call that performance Bs. We did that in our first year of acting school. Wow, man. Place in the middle of the music with some serious theatricals and it would add to the music. Afterwards, who cares.

But at least you know the musicians put out their best and they really did a wonderful job. Later I got to listen to this show and the mix on the board was just fine and to be honest with you was nowhere near what the crowd heard ... and that is criminal! What is, an excellent band with excellent music, gets reduced ... to not very good! I guess the fans came in just to see Jerry Garcia and not give a darn about the music? I don't think so!

 

   

      

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