"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Albert Einstein
I know that
artists frequently question why they persist in the uphill battle to make their
way in the world, if you will...why they endure the stares of puzzlement from
those with more "realistic" or "grounded" or
"serious" ambitions...why they put up with the frustrations of the
"business" end of art...why indeed they would ever consider venturing
forth on a freezing winter night to bring an hour and a half of music to the
masses...or the only one...who show(s) up to receive the gift that is their
The show began with the great new song "Shoot The Moon"...
"No faith in what the world perceives,
...upon the conclusion of which Brian welcomed the crowd by saying, 'It's nice to be here on this cold night!" (And, given it was literally maybe 10 degrees outside, that was far more than just a bit of idle chat about the weather!). Be that as it may, a song about a relationship that would surely have made anyone involved "hot under the collar", shall we say, quickly warmed things up a bit...that song, of course, being the murderous "Cross That Line"...
"I spend my nights playing
While you're out with him,
Laughing under stars...
I know you're the hurting
But I ain't left you yet..."
After this Brian announced that in late Feb. he'll be playing a series of shows with "some friends of mine"...in Hoboken with The Fiendz, as well as in NYC and Vienna, VA with Michael McDermott (who is also appearing at the aforementioned Hoboken gig). The latter of these also happens to be the author of a cover tune that has truly become the band's own, and is currently a staple at nearly every Brian Fitzpatrick (full band) show, "Kung Fu Videos"...a song particularly popular with not only the audience, but apparently the band itself as Rich could not only be heard offering his accustomed excellent drum work, but could also be seen enthusiastically singing along as well!
I've got dust in my eyes,
We both know we've got
Next came another song on which Rich's contributions were particularly noticeable in the most positive way (especially the brief drum roll after the line "I ain't no superman"!), one of my longtime favorites, "I Can't Be Your Savior...
Hmm...looks like Eddie didn't like Rich being singled out for praise. Geez, great artists can be temperamental (and yet, obviously, not all of them...Jay at least seems to take his own excellence -- and that of his bandmates -- pretty much in stride). I'm kidding, Eddie!!! How could I not be? Surely, no one in this group need have any insecurities with regard to their (truly, always top-notch) contributions!
"I ain't no hero,
And I ain't no superman...
I can't be your savior,
I am what I am."
"She's trying to find the meaning to this life;
...which was followed by another tale of a relationship lost, though in this case one that might yet someday be regained -- a little "Further Down The Line"...
You would be my
At the close of this song, the band left the stage for a short break, during which Brian offered a solo performance of a song he explained was written by one of his musical heroes (Pete Townshend), and which, though often mistaken as a romantic love song, is in fact, about the relationship God wishes each of us to experience with him...the lyrics to which are an imagined view of the words with which God himself might implore us to... "Let My Love Open The Door"...
"I have the only key
I can stop you
Try today, you'll
Come on and give
Let my love open
Next came the tale of a young girl caught in what must have seemed an unending Godless night, the victim of unjust imprisonment in an abusive drug treatment center. As for the song's title, "Valhalla" is a mythical banquet hall where the Norse god Odin eternally feasts the spirits of fallen heroes. And, based on the beautiful and gracious spirit those who knew her attest she retained despite all this young girl endured, it's easy to imagine, and surely wish, her among those Odin continues to honor in this way...
I hope you found
On a brighter note, as Ed once more joined him onstage, Brian announced that the next song would be one "off the last CD I put out, which is called State of Grace"...in response to which someone in the crowd yelled "Whooo!". Reacting with a bit of philosophical humor, Brian returned, "It's always better to hear 'whoo' than 'you suck'." No worries on that account, certainly. Although I credit myself with a pretty decent imagination, I definitely can't see Brian and/or his band ever being greeted with those words.
In any case, Brian quickly continued that "Incidental" is about "things my father told me when I was a kid...it's debatable whether they came true..."
"I don't believe
Never one to
I won't live life
The rest of the band returned for (the "Irish jig"), "Sweet Maria"...before which Ed proved turnabout's fair play by reversing Brian's comment from their 12/23 Bitter End show, "If you don't know the Irish jig, Brian'll teach ya!" To which Brian responded, "And I'll immediately refer you to Jay!" To which Jay replied -- well, he made no comment, actually -- a wise choice, if you ask me...
Her image, it
"Ain't it so sad,
About those days
All the frustration,
So much you'll
Next, Brian told the crowd, "I'm gonna try a new song", then added, "I have to tune up a minute". To fill in the space, the rest of the band improvised a rather un-Brian Fitzpatrick-band-like interlude. And, just to enhance the mood of it all, Ed did a little extra improvising of his own...."Yeeahhhh", he intoned, "Jaaazzzz". (Needless to say, Brian tried his best to keep the break as brief as possible!) At last Brian announced that he was ready to go, and explained that "Madonna In Rags" is "about a girl I saw here one night". Just after beginning the tune, however, he stopped again. "Wrong key," he said, and resumed the re-tuning process, which prompted -- you guessed it -- "Back to the jazz" from Ed.
Trust me, the tune was worth the wait!!! A rocking number with a truly unique feel and characteristically insightful lyrics, this is sure to become an audience favorite in the days ahead...
I watched her
As you've probably guessed, throughout this entire show there had been a pretty relaxed and homey vibe. In recognition of this, Ed suddenly declared, "I feel like I'm in somebody's living room"...to which the "Lone Monk" (the act who'd opened the evening's festivities) responded "you are!". And, once Joe Beets threw in, "Don't wake my parents!", it seemed more like everyone was at a summer beach party than braving one of January's coldest nights!
And, of course, what else could prove a more appropriate follow up to all this than "Northwoods"...which Brian announced "will be our last song...unless we do another song..."
"And you could use
Well, a friend I am,
...and wouldn't you know, those words proved prophetic as the crowd, of course, requested "One More!!!"...a song by The Who, which Brian noted, "We always do as an encore", adding, "We never rehearse it and we never do it well." Maybe that's true, but it still sounded pretty good to me, even if for reasons that for whatever reason, "I Can't Explain" (although it's arguable Ed's positively insane piano playing, Rich's amazing drum work, Jay and Brian's likewise excellent musicianship, and the impromptu "light show" all contributed to this truly amazing moment!).
In any case, finally, on that note indeed the evening ended and everyone made their way back out into the frigid night...still warmed, thankfully, by the memory of another positively amazing show, and the spirit of camaraderie that can still be felt as I sit here writing (and, I hope, too, as you read!) this page...
For all of which I can only conclude,
...as always, thanks much Bri and band!
See you next time!
And, don't forget to check out...Brian-Fitzpatrick.com!!!