Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Eric Johnson at the Granada Theatre: Dallas, TX

Eric JohnsonApparently there's nothing like seeing guitar-meister Eric Johnson in his home state in TX. Fantastic for so many reasons, but especially for the weirdness that one can only experience while watching EJ perform.

First, as I looked around me, the average age of the audience appeared to be 128. Who did I come to see - Peter, Paul, and Mary?

The opening act, Judith Owen, the wife of Harry "Derek 'Spinal Tap' Smalls" Shearer, put me to sleep (literally: I actually fell asleep) with her hideous lounge act. It consisted of her butchering classics like "Smoke On the Water" via keyboard, annoying the audience with her inane banter, and a guy on "drums" (he apparently could only afford one or two) that she insisted was Cuban, although his name was something like John Smith and he looked anything but Cuban.

Eric taking the stage woke me up. As usual, he treated everyone to frenzied playing that drops jaws, especially because he's fiddling with his guitar knobs, tuning pegs, amplifier controls, and effects pedals while he's playing. It's so insane that it honestly makes one laugh in disbelief.

After performing a song or two that made Flynn and me want to sell our guitars on Ebay, Eric played with the knobs on his amp some more, looked to his stage hand (who sheepishly shrugged his shoulders), then turned to the audience and meekly apologized, claiming, "Something always goes wrong." WTF? I'd have to slay him if he wasn't so damned sincere (or, if you prefer, it must be teh suck to be such a perfectionist).

The wonkiness continued as he:
  • Reluctantly accepted a greeting card from a woman in the audience, then, after recouping from his confusion, dedicated the next song to her.
  • Stopped playing, in the middle of a song, to put his fingers in his ears to shield himself from an unexpected blast of white noise.
  • Inexplicably felt the need to tell the audience every time they played a song that was written by his bassist, Chris Maresh.
  • Attempted, and failed, to get feedback multiple times from a Marshall stack at the back of the stage (I guess this is what happens when you have perfect tone).
  • Belted out the most insane intro to "Cliffs of Dover" imaginable.
  • Whipped out versions of "Manic Depression" (yay, he succeeded in getting feedback during this one) and some B.B. King song that ran technical circles around the originals.
  • Played for two hours (with four encores), thus driving the 40 something year old women next to me batty.
Conclusion: go see Eric if you can. Where else will you experience a tragicomedy as a bonus feature to the musical bonanza?


Anonymous AJB said...

Don't forget - he also played "Drive My Car", by the Beatles.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Hollow Man said...

I just, for whatever reason, wasn't enormously impressed by this cover. The Beatles do it better in a way that's hard to get over.

12:40 PM  

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