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Alan Parsons Live Project
From somewhere in the mists of memory I recalled an interview with Alan Parsons where he said that his idea of a tour was taking a six-pack of beer and a couple of albums over to a friend’s house. So I was rather intrigued by the idea of an Alan Parsons Project tour that didn’t involve someone’s couch and the pop of beer cans.
Although an auditorium is hardly an intimate space, the lighting specialists did a great job of setting the right kind of atmosphere for music that was generally laid back, yet still rock ’n’ roll. The sound, with the exception of the drums, which the sound-man occasionally dropped out the mix, was warm and enveloping. Would you expect any less from the man who engineered the clanging-coins loop in Pink Floyd’s “Money”? And the decibels were in the range that the audience could handle.
I suppose that Mann Auditorium audiences are well-trained to stay in their seats and clap politely at the ends of songs since that’s what they did for most of the show. Perhaps that’s why it took Parsons, standing center-stage on a double riser with occasional strolls around with his acoustic guitar, and his five-member band until the sixth song of the first set, “Time,” to warm up a bit, segueing to the Peter Gabriel-like “We Play The Game.”
Parsons had a good rapport with the audience, even pitching the band’s upcoming live DVD after gently scolding them for making iPhone recordings of the concert, and sharing the banter with singer PJ Olsson, whose dazzling red shoes didn’t upstage his vocal talents.
The atmosphere changed with the second set, which led off with “Damned
If I Do” and Parsons encouraging the audience to clap with the music.
The “Turn Of A Friendly Card” series, which he dedicated both to his
fans and to his late cohort Eric Woolfson, was a treat. With Parsons
alternating between flute, keyboard and guitars, the band came into
their own. Sensing that the audience perhaps needed a bit more
prodding, Parsons asked everyone to get up on their feet, which they
did, clapping, dancing and singing along to “The Raven” through the end
of the second set.
For an encore, the ensemble played the mellow “Old and Wise,” which
they dedicated to a mother and daughter from Beersheba present in the
theater. And the guy standing in the back screaming out “Games People
Play!” would have heard, indeed, that his favorite was the second and
closing song of the encore, had he not been screaming so much.
All in all, if Alan Parsons wants to drop by my living room with some beers and a disc, I’d happily let him in.