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Steve Roach May 19 2007 concert/Gathering review

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  • joeolnick
    It was a homecoming of sorts driving down the PA turnpike from Harrisburg to Philadelphia once again for a Steve Roach performance at St. Mary s Church on the
    Message 1 of 4 , May 21 7:36 AM
      It was a homecoming of sorts driving down the PA turnpike from
      Harrisburg to Philadelphia once again for a Steve Roach performance
      at St. Mary's Church on the U. Penn campus. I've seen Steve work his
      magic live every chance I could over the years, starting with his
      1997 show at Huston Hall! Hard to believe it's been almost ten years
      since then.

      And while I was at virtually every Gathering since that '97 show for
      years, my obligations and scheduling have made it impossible for me
      to attend any in the last couple of years. Fortunately, everything
      worked out for me to make it back to see Steve.

      Anticipation was high, as my girlfriend and I arrived fairly early to
      get a good spot in line. Despite a slight mist and occasional rain,
      the line quickly snaked down the walkway, with the overheard bits of
      conversation in the air that only come with that amazing community
      that shows up for The Gatherings. The crowd has become notably
      larger and more diverse than I remember, perhaps due to the online
      streaming of Star's End.

      Once we made it inside, it wasn't long before the place filled up,
      the lights were lowered, and Chuck welcomed us back. Jeffrey Koepper
      opened up, and was a great choice. A flawless, well-paced, and
      perfectly timed opening set that took us on quite a ride! I wasn't
      that familiar with him, but I was very satisified with his
      performance. Some very interesting textures and smooth transitions
      from energetic to spacey back to sequencer-land. Some of it seemed
      in a similar vein as what Ian Boddy has done at times. A fine job,
      indeed.

      Once again I was reminded that there is nothing quite like
      experiencing live electronic music played through a high quality
      sound system in an appropriate environement. Anybody else feel that
      something is lost when a synth is recorded, no matter how high-
      quality the recording & playback equipment?

      During the break, I headed back to the bathroom, and while standing
      in line again a conversation started regarding Steve and his past
      Gathering performances. Some new faces and familar faces in line
      also chatting about Steve. The anticipation was high.

      Making it back to my pew just in time for the lights to dim while the
      smell of sweet incense set the mood. And there was STEVE! A huge
      round of applause before he even played a note, which is notable in
      itself. Then we got ready.....

      After a while, the video screen behind him came to life, showing
      desert imagery that eventually gave way to a fantastic sequence of
      some of the best, trippiest computer animation that I've seen. Steve
      continues to raise the bar with his multimedia presentations over the
      years, and this was no exception. I was a little surprised by the
      end that there was no digeridoos, or the cool little shakers &
      percussion instruments that would sometimes pop up in his past
      performances (loved the dripping water that he looped last time in
      Philadelphia to start the show), but this performance was indeed
      unique. No guitars this time.

      While Steve has always had a very deep quality to his music, with a
      smoothness and unique stage presence that comes from years of playing
      live, his set seemed to touch on some of the deep drones that
      reminded me of The Magnificient Void at times, and then moving into
      some of the more electo-rhythmic areas, then to drifting sythn
      spaces, and back again. The rear speakers brought extra depth to the
      sound world we were enveloped in.

      I've never seen Steve boppin' around like this time during parts of
      the show; at one point I thought one of the tall equipment racks was
      shaking so much it might fall over! Steve really gets into what's
      he's doing.

      And by the way, the lights were absolutely perfect for both sets.
      Jeff Towne really has gotten very subtle for the most part with the
      lighting, but also created a very cool part at the end, with the some
      of the watery lights coming over part of the audience. Very
      effective, and well done.

      The one thing I did notice was that the sound overall seems a lot
      louder than I remember at previous Gatherings. The peaks got almost
      *too* loud at times during the peaks in both sets, but it just might
      be me and my position (fifth row center). The sound was always full
      and powerful. Hard to imagine folks drifting off to sleep like in
      past shows, but sure enough the fellow in front of me was almost
      horizontal for a lot of the show. Only at a Gathering.

      After a while, the set wrapped very slowly, with some teases at the
      very end. I was hoping for a reprise, but no it was indeed over and
      the applause went on and on. Yet another standing ovation for an
      amazing performance by the master.

      As we left, there was sign on the door: SOLD OUT. A packed and happy
      crowd lined up to talk to Steve. Hard to believe he would make to
      WXPN in time for the radio concert later that night.

      It was wonderful to be back! Chuck and the gang really have a great
      thing going with The Gatherings, and it's no surprise that folks
      around me traveled from many points, some far away, to take part in
      this very unique experience. I'm so glad that it continues.

      I've been a huge fan of Steve, and his shows are always incredible.
      Nobody gets that primitive tribal feeling (among other areas he
      visits) across quite like Steve. It's like being transported into a
      desert dream circle. He really sets the bar higher each time, and
      I'm so grateful that he continues to perform. Go Steve!

      Joe
    • Jeff Misner
      It was a very good show indeed. even my 10 year old daughter liked it. I thought I saw a few people recording the show. I d love to get a copy. Contact me if
      Message 2 of 4 , May 23 4:56 AM
        It was a very good show indeed. even my 10 year old daughter liked
        it.

        I thought I saw a few people recording the show. I'd love to get a
        copy. Contact me if you did record it.
      • David
        Yeah, I believe you hit right on the money with that review. For me, it was probably the best concert experience I ve ever had. After confirmation, I have also
        Message 3 of 4 , May 23 1:06 PM
          Yeah, I believe you hit right on the money with that review. For me, it
          was probably the best concert experience I've ever had. After
          confirmation, I have also determined that the person mentioned
          being "almost horizontal" for most of the show, was actually me. I was
          feeling a little under the weather just before the show began, and
          found myself needing to lay my head down every once in awhile. But let
          me tell you, it had no bearing on the experience whatsoever. If
          anything, I started to feel better as the show progressed. After it was
          over, I finally got up and went to the restroom, then I got in line to
          meet Sam (from Projekt), who was selling the merchandise, and
          ultimately... Steve. One of the two must have done the trick because I
          started to feel alot better then. After pretty much everyone had left,
          I finally left too (around 12:30am) and began the two hundred mile
          drive home back to Culpeper, Virginia. I listened to the live show that
          he did on the WXPN Star's End radio show on the way back, and it was as
          if Steve had never stopped playing back at St. Mary's; like the show
          was still progressing. It really was amazing. Everything about the
          night was. Oh, and likewise about any info on the recordings of the
          show. Hopefully Steve and/or The Gatherings will release an official CD.
        • Chuck van Zyl
          dear joe, i m glad you and bonnie were able to make it out to see steve roach on may 19th. thanks for the great review! i hope you ll also be able to come out
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 11, 2007
            dear joe,

            i'm glad you and bonnie were able to make it out to see steve
            roach on may 19th. thanks for the great review! i hope you'll also
            be able to come out to the artist workshop we've put together
            with robert rich and ian boddy while they're in town for the star's
            end 30th anniversary celebration concert. the workshop is on
            sunday 17 june 2007 in the parish hall of st mary's and will start
            at 7pm. i'll see everybody there!

            well, i finally got the chance to post some of jeff towne's photos
            of steve roach at the gatherings. have a look at:

            http://www.thegatherings.org

            it was a great night! thanks for your support!

            -chuckv
            >
            >
            --- In spacemusic@yahoogroups.com, "joeolnick"
            <joeolnick@...> wrote:
            >
            > It was a homecoming of sorts driving down the PA turnpike
            from
            > Harrisburg to Philadelphia once again for a Steve Roach
            performance
            > at St. Mary's Church on the U. Penn campus. I've seen Steve
            work his
            > magic live every chance I could over the years, starting with his
            > 1997 show at Huston Hall! Hard to believe it's been almost ten
            years
            > since then.
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