Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

road to albany

people i run into

Sunday I went to Albany and through a series of decisions not to get coffee at the farm stand or Hannaford, I spotted a gas station. I was at 3 pumps because of flex fuel, diesel and finally settled to a pump. I noticed the Mobile station had flying red horses so i stopped to take pix. Finally i pumped the gas, paid and got coffee.. the lid did not fit...the point is all of this took time. As I was paying or getting my change, i turned to find a woman who i worked with at ACS. Maria Gil had moved to Albany and by chance, hers and mine we were at the same station at the same time. I should not have been there or at that time.. Another random chance meeting

Monday, September 28, 2009

Review of Natalie at Shaker Heritage

I also had a long drive from NYC. The rain turned to drizzle and I
got to Albany in record time. I planned for more hours but on an early Sunday, I
took my time. I was pleased that the leaves were starting to turn colors and I
kept thinking about the image of one of the poets from the day before called
"oyster sky". The clouds were hanging grey and the rain on my windshield was
more of a comfort than inconvenience. I got some interesting music on the radio,
Mavis Staples and even Like the Weather in the Reststop radio. It was a Like the
Weather day.
> I arrived at the Shaker Site after stopping to do some shopping and a stop at
a local farm stand. I bought end of the summer/season corn and other stuff that
I may or may not need. I got lunch and headed over to find that the early show
tour would be beginning soon. I just walked the site and tried to stay out of
the way.
> Early Show: I got a last minute seat so I was sitting in the rear of the floor
section. So when Natalie sat I could not see her. She was aware of that and
stood. She entered the hall from the rear though her trio was in the front. The
show songs were planned but Natalie realized that she needed to accommodate the
space. She realized that maybe having no amplification with 300 people present
was not the best plan. I heard parts of her sound check and her vocals from the
rafter section was impeccable. She entered the space from the rear, for
dramatic effect. Also she could see walk down the aisle.
> She early on heard the click of the camera and gave her Hiro Ballroom be in
the moment speech. She talked at length about how the picture - 1 picture will
last for 1000 years after we do, so she allowed a brief camera session. Shaking
hands, walking over to people. It was a harsh, scolding Natalie who was owning
the room, releasing her own anxiety and asking people to respect the history of
the space. The click of the camera was annoying and Natalie had her own
photographer, videographer or two. She therefore played to HER camera. She
realized early that the people in the back may not be able to hear her so she
took the band and walked them around the room. She did the same in the second
show, but walked over to the windows to cool them off. She walked through the
crowd singing.
> As i said I was near the back and I had no problem hearing her sing. Natalie
choose to sing mostly poetry songs and then Tell Yourself, Owensboro, K&G,
Weeping Pilgrim. The poetry songs are good but needed explanation to a crowd
that may not have realized NM has been writing the music to these classics. She
told different stories to different songs in the first and second show. The
setlist differented slightly.
> She did not have her photographer or videographer for the second show so she
may have been looser.
> I think NM respected the space but did not know what to expect from the sound
in the room with people. She kept talking about playing with no amplification
and her making the decision. The early show got natural sunlight through the
thick windows, the evening show had rain outside and the lighting dimmed.
Natalie got better at using the space during the second show. I was then sitting
in the front front of the building and got to sit about two feet from NM when
she stood in the first 3rd of the floor. She continued to honor the heritage of
the Shakers. She used hand motions, foot stops in her sturdy shoes and then
boots. Natalie changed from a skirt and wood blazer to a deep purple dress with
boots. She had been wearing the boots earlier when she walked with the tour. She
commented on the Oxen in the pasture and compared it to the Cruise Ship in NYC.
She vowed jokingly never to play concert halls again for the lack of view.
> Again, photos were a problem. Natalie promised a photo moment in the second
show and never took one. She entered the hall and immediately asked for no
picture. in her own fashion, Natalie said " put away your digital objects and be
here." Classic Natalie, classic queen. Natalie had water, tea and Shaker hat on
a stand and at the end of the second show, put on the hat, calling for Sister
Natalie. Natalie, singer, historian, actress, dramatist, writer, dreamer,
visionary, Benefactor, performer, diva, philanthropist and artist were all in
the room.
> I am not disappointed because, I had no expectations other than I problem was
seeing a rate NM show, in a place that I have never been. Being that close in an
place of such history and with no amplification and singing poetry songs. I took
it as a one time ever event so I appreciated being able to be there. I was
disappointed that again, i have no decent pictures but NM would be pleased the
pictures of my mind have to suffice as my documentary ( or until she puts them
out as a video or on her website) she documented this for herself for sure, but
refused us to...Ummm Natalie????
> Driving back to NY was horrific. The rain was pelting and for 1/3 of the ride
the rain was blinding. Once I hit Rhinebeck or the upper valley, the rain
cleared and it was a clean but long ride home. I was listening for traffic
reports that never came... Manhattan streets were empty for a sunday night and a
major Jewish Holiday. I made it home in record time- 3 hours with more than hour
of slow down...
> I also know that I will never capture those moments again...

poet house

Here's the setlist in order:

(31 minutes total)

- Motherland

- If No One Ever Marries Me

- Nursery Rhyme of Innocence & Experience (by Charles Causley)

- The Man In The Wilderness

- Break Your Heart (stopped twice to talk about passing cruise ship,

and giant bird on some dude's shoulders in the audience)

- Kind & Generous

After the performance, Natalie stuck around to chat & meet with fans

for at least 10-15 minutes, talking with pretty much everyone who

wanted to meet her. Her daughter was there with her too.

Also, I heard that Natalie performed "Texas" during soundcheck, plus

another new unknown song.