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Saw Gary Wright tonight. Not what I expected


Pa Gherkin

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An old band buddy asked me if I'd like to see Gary Wright tonight since he had an extra ticket. Being a fan his work since about 1970 I said sure. Tha venue was the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Center in Old Saybrook CT,a beautiful 250 seat venue. Upon seeing the stage setup I was surprised to see nothing but a grand piano,laptop,and a podium with a mic.

 

Turns out this is more of a book tour than a rock show tour since Gary has just released a book entitled "Dream Weaver: Music,Meditation,and My Friendship with George Harrison". The onstage presentation consisted mainly of Gary singing,accomponied by his piano player or tracks from the laptop and occasionally a combination of both. Gary didn't play at all. Most of the songs were obscurities except for Dream Weaver and a new version of My Love Is Alive. Having seen both Spooky Tooth and Gary solo,It was a little surreal to see Gary using a hand held mic in a stance reminiscent of Jack Jones or Steve Lawrence,but it was still great to see him still performing.

 

The good news: At 71 Gary's vocal abilities remain totally intact. His super high range is as strong as ever. He was also poised and apparently comfortable onstage despite having no band behind him or no instrument in front of him. The sound quality was excellent and the volume absolutely comfortable.

 

The not as good news: Only 2 songs from the Dream Weaver album and not even a musical nod to his heavy rock roots with Spooky Tooth.

 

The evening also included a brief slide show which Gary narrated from the aforementioned podium. Lots of pics of him and George Harrison but just a couple of shots of Spooky Tooth who were just mentioned as being his first band and that they weren't as successful as many other bands of the era.Personally,I could listen to him talk about the Spooky era all night,but I'm probably a minority of one.

 

What was a bummer was that this 250 seat venue wasn't even half full on a Friday night for an artist who has sold several million albums and continues to create and sound great. This guy has been rubbing elbows with huge music names for 45 or more years and the turnout was pretty dismal. To his credit,he related very well to the audience and was very warmly recieved. Not ashamed to say I felt a little misty hearing him sing Dream Weaver perfectly,even if it was to a track,and all with a smile on his face. Much respect.

 

After the show he was signing books,CDs and whatever at the merch table. I wanted the book anyway so I bought one which he graciously signed. I asked him something I have wanted to ask for over 40 years and I think I caught him a little off guard. I asked him how he got that huge Hammond sound on Waitin' For The Wind. He looked a little blank for a split second and then said,"It was probably the way it was miced. That record was produced by Jimmy Miller and he did a great job." I believe Mate Stubb has referred to this track as the greatest recorded Hammond tone ever or words to that effect,and I totally agree. I guess we'll never know exactly how that sound was achieved. Oh well,I tried.

 

All in all,I'm glad I got to see Gary in such an intimate setting,got the book,and got to meet one of my all time heros. Oh yeah,I did get to tell him he's been an inspiration since 1970. Fine artist who seems like a really nice man.

 

This being the Keyboard Corner it seemed appropriate to share this experience. Please forgive the verbosity.

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I think I might be in the minority on this board, who is not familiar with his work with spooky tooth.

However I am a big fan of his solo career, and his Light of Smiles album remains a huge favorite of mine.

I can definitely see how him not playing would be a disappointment, as I love his synth solos. They are to me among the most expressive solos I have ever heard.

 

I will keep an eye out for the book though. Between George Harrison, Gary Wright, and Yes' Tales from Topographic Oceans album, they introduced me to the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, which changed my life in very positive ways.

 

Sad to hear of the empty seats and him not playing, but I'm still jealous of you getting to see him. Thanks for posting this!

Stage: Korg Krome 88.

Home: Korg Kross 61, Yamaha reface CS, Korg SP250, Korg mono/poly Kawai ep 608, Korg m1, Yamaha KX-5

 

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What a great experience for you! More good news: no keytar. ;)

 

Here it is, the greatest rock Hammond tone ever recorded.

 

[video:youtube]

 

Edit: a close second for me for rock organ tone would be Ken Hensley's in Uriah Heep.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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An old band buddy asked me if I'd like to see Gary Wright tonight since he had an extra ticket.

The good news: At 71 Gary's vocal abilities remain totally intact. His super high range is as strong as ever. He was also poised and apparently comfortable onstage despite having no band behind him or no instrument in front of him. The sound quality was excellent and the volume absolutely comfortable.

The not as good news: Only 2 songs from the Dream Weaver album and not even a musical nod to his heavy rock roots with Spooky Tooth.

gotta take the good with the bad, right? sure beats staying home and watching TV :D

:nopity:
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...just a couple of shots of Spooky Tooth who were just mentioned as being his first band and that they weren't as successful as many other bands of the era.

 

In the late 1960s our local group opened for a double billing of Spooky Tooth and The Zombies - who were the headliner and fresh off their "Time Of The Season" single.

 

Spooky Tooth got the same lukewarm reaction from the crowd as we did. They were all there for The Zombies.

 

Later on I learned that it wasn't even the real Zombies - but a sham group put together by a management company who owned the name.

 

Spooky Tooth was blown off the stage by fakers. It's no wonder that Gary Wright feels the way he does about that period in his musical career.

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In my neck of the woods, Spooky Two was being played on the (then brand new) FM stations daily. All my musician friends and most of the town would have gone to see them in a heartbeat.

 

If Colin or Rod were not in the Zombies you played with, that was definitely a rip off. Same thing happened to me in the mid 70s playing with "Iron Butterfly."

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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The onstage presentation consisted mainly of Gary singing,accomponied by his piano player or tracks from the laptop and occasionally a combination of both. Gary didn't play at all.

 

That would have bummed me out. No synths?

 

Wow. :(

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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However I am a big fan of his solo career, and his Light of Smiles album remains a huge favorite of mine.

 

Me too! The title track, Watersign, and Phantom Writer are big favorites of mine. What did he play those solos on, a Prophet 5?

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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Spooky Tooth was blown off the stage by fakers. It's no wonder that Gary Wright feels the way he does about that period in his musical career.

 

Bill,I don't think Gary really feels any ambivalence regarding the Spooky Tooth experience since he participated in all of the several reunion tours right up into 2009. I saw the band back in the day and they were very good live. There is also quite a bit of live performance video on YouTube that spans eras from the beginning right up to what I think is the latest reunion tour and despite varying recording quality,the band seems to sound quite good. I think Hammonddave turned us on to quite a bit of it on this very forum.

 

I don't doubt for a second that you witnessed a bad night on their part,but that can happen to almost anyone. I kind of doubt that what you heard was their normal game. Or,maybe their whole approach appeals a lot more to me than it does to you? If that's the case,I'm certainly ok with that.

 

Mate, funny,I was going to include no keytar among the good news points but in the frenzy to compose my endless diatribe I forgot. Synths I would have loved but I too am not much of a keytar guy. Also,we're on the same wavelength as concerns Ken Hensley's organ sounds. The first time I heard them I was blown away. I chased that sound for years. Now that I can get really close to it, great as it is I wouldn't want Marshall powered Leslies to be my only organ flavor,but when it's called for it's an eargasm.

 

 

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I don't doubt for a second that you witnessed a bad night on their part,but that can happen to almost anyone.

I guess I just didn't phrase it right. Spooky Tooth was by far the best band on the stage that night. That wasn't the audience's perception however.

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I don't doubt for a second that you witnessed a bad night on their part,but that can happen to almost anyone.

I guess I just didn't phrase it right. Spooky Tooth was by far the best band on the stage that night. That wasn't the audience's perception however.

 

 

Ah! Now I get it.

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