But now I'm back.
What did we miss? A new compilation album of Cale productions, some limited reissues of 70s records, and, oh, right, a new record. (And a remix album, but that didn't do a whole lot for me.)
I did at last manage to see Mr. Cale live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last month with the Wordless Music Orchestra. He performed Paris 1919 and a selection of new and old songs. I only caught him one night of the two, and apparently missed a live performance of Do Not Go Gentle... (which might be the first thing I discuss in this brutal new year).
A little review: Paris went well, with some interesting spins on some of the songs. To be frank, Child's Christmas was a wreck, with guitar wanking all over the track and a little something off in everyone's timing. I steeled myself for an unpleasant evening, but things improved markedly on Hanky Panky Nohow. I wish I had written down my notes the same night, but precision is unnecessary. Some songs got dronier, some songs got poppier. Half Past France got a raga development that worked surprisingly well. The most pronounced change was Graham Greene, which lost its reggae completely and transformed into a Latin number, meanwhile achieving its ultimate destiny... well, I guess I ought to write about it. Macbeth was awkwardly grafted onto the end of the album. Why, I don't know.
The second set was on the whole less awkward. Opener Hedda Gabler is a song I've heard too much; I still like Ibsen too much to entirely approve of Cale's use of the name, but the coda was worth the rest of the song. Captain Hook was catastrophically powerful, though Marka did not care for the guitar pyrotechnics. New song Cry was OK, but seemed a bit generic as many recent relationship songs have. I quite enjoy Living With You on the record, but except for a few moments where everything gelled it felt unworthy of stage time. Riverbank was a complete surprise and really hit the spot. A keyboard-driven I Wanna Talk 2 U (whose name still hurts to type) was boring live and not half as good as the album version, to me, but Marka liked it. The Hanging took me a while to place; it's an awfully strong song to bury on a Black Friday special edition!
The orchestra then left the stage. Wordless Music includes many performers I like, and they mostly did very well, but I have to say, things felt much more natural and visceral with just the band. Nookie Wood blew the audience quite away, vocal effects and all, and Venus in Furs was the only way to end the night.
I'm looking forward to the next time I see the band. Hopefully sans orchestra.