My old pal Michael, who I lost touch with many years ago, would be up for this one. It was he, when we were 14 who introduced me to the wonders of Arthur Lee and Love at a time when we were otherwse listening to The Jam, Joe Jackson, Buzzcocks and The Stranglers. His other favourite album, from his older brother’s collection, was Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard A true Star.
The Rundgren album passed me by ~ perhaps Michael sussed that this innovative piece of prog-rock would be a step too far in my musical education. Listening to it on Spotify I can see where those who regard this work as a masterpiece are coming from, though I don’t, as yet, totally ‘get it’. I have a feeling it could be a ‘grower’. It is certainly diverse, I give it that, with the hippy experimentations rubbing shoulders with material that must surely have been a reference point for Steely Dan plus a ten-minute Philly-flavoured soul medley I’m So Proud/Ooh Baby Baby/La La means I Love You/Cool Jerk. Do I also detect a Bonzo influence, perhaps on tracks like Just Another Onionhead? (Perhaps it’s the influence of Mr Zappa instead?)
However, the former-Nazz man (now, if Open My Eyes isn’t a masterpiece of psych-pop then I don’t know what is) and producer of everyone from Badfinger, TRB, XTC and Psychedelic Furs to Cheap Trick, Meatloaf and Hall & Oates is about to perform the album in its entirety for the first time ever. Some of the material has never been played live anywhere before.
The early shows will be filmed and recorded so that by the time the show hits London for its only UK date a double-disc DVD/CD should be in the shops. London tickets are available from here or on 08700 603 777.
The full itinerary is as follows:
* Akron Civic Center, Akron, Ohio – 6th September 2009
* Akron Civic Center, Akron, Ohio – 7th September 2009
* Palace Theater, Stamford, Connecticut – 9th September 2009
* Strathmore Hall, North Bethesda, Maryland – 10th September 2009
* Park West, Chicago – 12th September 2009
* Park West, Chicago – 13th September 2009
* State Theatre, Minneapolis – 15th September 2009
* HMV London Hammersmith Apollo – 6th February 2010
* The Paradiso, Amsterdam – 8th February 2010