captain beefheart electricity

OLD FART AT PLAY !
concerts


 

saturday 08.04.72 AMSTERDAM holland CONCERTGEBOUW

REVIEW - two PICTURES - go to the main page



PICTURE 9

captain beefheart - live picture 'amsterdam, holland, concertgebouw' performance 080472 - by ton damman
DON VAN VLIET captain beefheart

picture by TON DAMMAN
which means it may not be published in whatever way without his permission
if you have plans to use it you can email me to get in touch with him

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REVIEW 5

STERRETJES ZIEN BIJ CAPTAIN BEEFHEART
integer mens met weinig geld en groot hart
gertjan van ommen - de tijd - 10 april 1972

note: the writer also did the interview 'de enige leider zit achter je kuit'

SEEING STARS WITH CAPTAIN BEEFHEART
incorruptible man with little money and a big heart

It's sad, but the conclusion that the concert of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band at the Concertgebouw Saturday night was unbearable because of the noise is right. A cold comfort is that Beefheart himself was the first one to admit that later on and explained the reasons for it. It even is no comfort at all to the people who attended the concert. They had to be satisfied with a very important show. For the rest one mainly saw stars, although perhaps there were a few diehards to whom certain pieces could have been of use, after their ears had adjusted themselves to the almost complete stupor.

Grieved, Beefheart declared that that's just the misery when you didn't have enough money. Then you couldn't let your own equipment come over and you had to make do with a rental. Of which the monitors (the speakers that enable the players to hear the music they make) didn't work well, thus the acoustics of the Concertgebouw give back everything a little later. To solve this problem the (for the rest perfect) equipment had to be put as loud as possible, which has made it impossible to get a representative idea of Beefheart's music and especially his strange, very spontaneous and associative lyrics. It can hardly be called rubbish, because lately a lot of bands got bogged down for exactly the same reasons.

Still best of all the instrumental work came into its own: a picturesque chaos of sounds, produced by Beefheart (for instance on soprano sax, supported by drummer Ed Marimba (art tripp - t.t.) in a kind of Breuker-like piece ('spitball scalped a baby')), Zoot Horn Rollo (bill harkleroad) (guitar), Winged Eel Fingerling (elliot ingber) (guitar), the super fast Rockette Morton (mark boston) (bass) and second bassist Roy Estrada, whose Magic Band name (oréjon) slipped my mind, but who wasn't an unknown anymore having been a musician with Zappa's former Mothers and later on with Little Feat.

We continue with the strange turn by mentioning the relatively prettiest works: "Woe-is-uh-me-bop", "Alice in Blunderland" and "Abba Zaba". Now, to the unsuspecting reader such a thing easily will come across as silly super kitsch and the odds are that listening to his records that impression just is being reinforced. However, with reference to the preview of the concert and the review of Beefheart's latest album, i think it's not surprising that someone who experiences Beefheart himself changes his tune.

PERCEPTIONS

Don van Vliet (his actual name) is a very nice, well expressing man, who doesn't find it too hard to convey that his harping on playfulness and spontaneity is not a pose. That the outcome is a very inaccessible music, rubbing up the ears of many people the wrong way, he thinks to be actually too bad, for else more people could share his perceptions with him. But he just can't do otherwise. But that's simply just the way it is.

He feels strongly about that 'experiencing together' - when he says something he immediately asks: "Do you know what I mean?", sounding very different to the usual english stopgap. If there is any shadow of doubt in the affirmative answer, everything is put aside until it's absolutely certain you understand each other, even though ten man and more are shoving for a whole quarter of an hour. He is incredibly conscientious, refuses to speak on behalf of other people, for instance. After all you easily might do someone wrong that way.

He makes an exception to this pattern when he finds out how much importance is attached to the person of Zappa over here. He thinks it to be a disgusting trick of Frank, of whom he can't also take that he relies way too much on the gifts of people he discovers or otherwise admires. Beefheart has experienced some of that himself and therefore probably has a right to say so, but even then he rather finds it very annoying because it easily turns into "Beefheart versus Zappa".

INTEREST

This is one of the times he showed an enormously incorruptible interest, as for that everybody around him is worth the same lot to him. A girl tells him that she doesn't know anything about his music. Well, he doesn't either. But then she hasn't heard any of his music yet, can't he tell something about it? This happens as elaborate as possible and he insists that she gets a ticket and will joins him for a talk afterwards. The girl is not his only guest after the concert. Two guys also are coming upstairs: "They say that you are crazy. And it was a hell of a noise down there." The two of them are taken along by a band member to listen to tapes of better concerts. After some time they come back to report on their findings and they are delighted.

I myself am not that lucky, initially. An irritated manager lectured me on my Zappa talk the day before which hadn't come through to him nicely and Beefheart is in a somewhat teasing mood. Packing it in, you silently go away. Not! "Hey man, what the hell are you doing nów?" Beefheart and his manager up over the railing, me below. It hardly can be more personal, but facing the captain i'm not given much choice. You're not confronted every day with an artist who carries through his interest for the life around him so far that a sort of 'the interviewer interviewed' is being created. Halfway a flight of stairs in the Concertgebouw, with women and children involved in it, between four and five in the morning when decent people ought to sleep. One of the results is giving one's address: "Then I'll write you one day, and send you some póems. I'm a horrible letter writer."

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note: this article was illustrated with a live picture of don van vliet, (an outcut of) which can be found in a previous review

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translation by Robert Cloos 1998



PICTURE 10

captain beefheart - live picture 'amsterdam, holland, concertgebouw' performance 080472 - by ton damman
DON VAN VLIET captain beefheart

picture by TON DAMMAN
which means it may not be published in whatever way without his permission
if you have plans to use it you can email me to get in touch with him

go to the next review and pictures

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captain beefheart electricity
as felt by teejo

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