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   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #233  (Vol. 5, No. 37)  This edition is for the week of September 6--12, 2004.
The Digital Divide by Terence Nuzum
LEDsCD REVIEWS    by Terence Nuzum
CDs are rated 1 to 5 LEDs

 Daryl Hall and John Oates 
 Michael McDonald 
 The Average White Band 

September 4, 2004
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Des Moines, Iowa
Est. Attendance: 5,000
by guest concert reviewer, Mike Smith   

Guided By Voices
Guided By Voices:
Half Smiles of the Decomposed

Four and a half LEDs

review by Terence Nuzum

So, it's over. Robert Pollard's self- described "greatest indie rock band ever" has called it quits. Pollard claims after the making of this album that he made the perfect one and tthat he can't be a "ringmaster" anymore. Perfect album? Well maybe and maybe not. While it doesn't have enough of Bee Thousands lo-fi sound it also doesn't over-do it like on their greatest failure Do The Collapse. But look at it from Pollard's view point. Pollard has always viewed GBV as his garage version of his favorite band, The Who. On Half Smiles... it is the most appropriate conotation. Pollard this time has pulled out all the stops from "Girls of Wild Strawberrys" Tommy-inspired acoustic guitars to the prog punk of "The Closets Of Henry" it all one big Whogasm. So to Pollard this is his homage to his favorite band and his masterpiece. Its not their best but it's hard not to shed an indie tear when the last song "Huffman Prairie Flying Field" in all its guitar-chugging glory fades out very slowly inch by inch and you realize that its the last thing the band would ever do. Their legacy and influence on countless bands is incomparable and undeniable. Hold up your lighters.

In the early days of rock and roll, it was quite common for several acts to appear on the same bill, not only separately but in a final encore encompassing all of the groups. It was also common for various members of different groups to fill in musically when needed. A little known fact about the tragic Winter Dance Party in 1959 was that Richie Valens played drums during Buddy Holly's set, while Holly reciprocated by playing bass when Valens took the stage. In the true tradition of the rock and roll road show, a trio of truly soulful groups took the stage, and the audience, by storm.

Opening the show was the popular '70's group, The Average White Band. Mixing songs from their new CD with their classic better known tunes, the band was neither Average or white! The group, led by lead vocalist and bassist Alan Gornie, was incredibly tight musically and new member Clyde Jones (the non-white member) showed great skills on guitar as well as vocally on a new song called "Cloudy." In the true spirit of sharing, sax man Fred Vigdor was joined by Hall and Oates' main horn man Charlie DeChant for a rousing version of "Pick Up The Pieces."

Next up was former Doobie Brother turned soloist Michael McDonald. I've always thought of McDonald as more of a "voice," but he really impressed me with his fine keyboard work. Not only did he please the crowd with some Doobie material ("It Keeps You Runnin'," "Taking It To the Streets," and "You Belong to Me") but he also performed songs from his latest album, entitled "Motown." His version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" rivals previous versions by Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight.. On a personal note, I was pleased that he did one of my favorite solo songs, "Sweet Freedom," which was featured in the movie "Running Scared." In a touching moment, McDonald dedicated the song to the memory of the film's star, the great Gregory Hines. Again, in the spirit of sharing, Fred Vigdor played along during McDonald's set. A special thank you here to Matt Drinnenberg for answering, vial long distance, a question that was bothering us in the seats. Seems none of us could remember who had covered "You Belong to Me" and had a hit. Without hesitation, Matt told me, "Carly Simon."

2 hours into the show, it was time for the headliners to hit the stage. Opening with a kick ass version of "Out of Touch," Hall and Oates set out to prove why they are the most successful duo in music history. With a combination of hits and songs of their two most recent albums ("Do It For Love," released last year and the upcoming "Our Kind of Soul") both men sang and performed with an energy that made it hard to believe they are both in their mid-50s. Hall's sweet tenor caressed every note and Oates, who in the past has been happy letting Hall steal the show, displayed strong vocals and guitar playing. As in past shows I have seen, both men loved playing to the crowd, with Oates repeatedly showering fans with guitar picks. After firing up the crowd with an interactive "Man Eater," Hall and Oates called out AWB and Michael McDonald for a final 30-minute jam session that blew the roof off the joint.

Hearing McDonald lend his voice to "Kiss on my List," or Hall's rendition of "What a Fool Believes" was the definite topping on a great cake of music. Finally, the show ended with the typical Hall and Oates closer (at least it has been the several times I've seen them), Sly and the Family Stone's "Hot Fun in the Summertime." As musicians and fans waved "bye, bye, bye" the lights came up and the show was over. A perfect ending to a perfect evening.

The Rock and Soul Revue is still making it's way across the country. Please go to www.hallandoates.com for upcoming dates.

"The Digital Divide" is ©2004 by Terence Nuzum.. This issue's concert review of THE ROCK AND SOUL REVUE is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.