Monday, 25 February 2008

Feels like the carnival is over

It's funny that after a weeks worth of beautiful sunny weather and lovely balmy nights (just the thing for outdoor concerts), yesterday afternoon the weather gods really decided that the carnival was over. Heavy rain in the afternoon meant that when finally it stopped the humidity cleared for the first time in my stay here, but actually made me feel i was back at home, in theory a pleasant thought but still having had a ball here the last week you really never want these things to end (i'm sure that's how most of us were thinking as we made our way back home the Sunday night with the official festival over leaving only the Jam Session at Saxophone).
I had promised a report on day 2, but was hoping to cheat a bit off the local paper but seeing it's not on the net yet (and it's again bucketing down) i'll have to make do with my memories.
First up was The Groove Doctors with Jimmy Fame opening with Pink Floyds "Another brick in the wall", certainly an interesting choice but one they carried off well, next few songs were more "real blues" and these guys were really rocking by now seemed a shame to waste them as first act. After a few more tunes they were joined by Jimmy Fame (noted for his work with Eric Burdon and the Animals) and things were cranked up a notch certainly this was a great start for the night especially when they finished with an incredible version of The Doors "Roadhouse Blues", almost enough to get many of us off our lounge chairs (the idea definitely was to pace myself dancefloor-wise or there'd be nothing left for the end).
Next up was a local young group Boy Blues Band with a Jimi Hendrix lookalike lead guitarist, lot's of energy and raw power but i must admit personally they weren't in the same league as the first night although his "Hendrixness" extended also to his guitar work so they were still worth seeing.
Next up was the Blues Machine with Filipina Mary, an act early compared to the last night a crowd was forming around the stage so i thought i'd better make it up there as well and join in.
In short a great show and Filipina Mary really was something else special about her performance if you could bottle her energy you'd have a helluva energy drink.
Great songs, some familiar some not but all with a special buzz (obviously i should have been taking notes of song names instead of enjoying the dancefloor !!!), as well as an incredible guitarist Ken "Snowman" Minahan and towards the end Mary headed off stage and ran around the audience still in full voice.
Again one of those times when a child stole the show, one of the sponsors kids an eight year old boy (i knew there names on the night but memory fails me), had given Mary a bottle of water to drink during her frantic running around so she invited him onto the stage when he returned don't know he's going to be a performer but he gave it a good shot as he did some "work" with the band.
First call for an encore of the night (again one act earlier than previous) and we weren't disappointed.
Next up was Cannonball , absolutely another class act first alone and then with Bonnie Anderson (a Florida Expat) another lady with a great stage presence.
Ultimately that sort of meant that acts 4 & 5 were combined as one as well as a couple of contributions from other performers from the previous night (and Harry again !), you could see these guys were having a ball and so were all of us.
A number of raffle results (closest i got was within one !!!) and by then it was almost midnight, one act to come was Shari with Rich Harper and his band as her band (as they'd been doing most of their 19 day Thailand tour).
Certainly the next hour was a delight, some blues classics as well as many of her own, sort of performance you just didn't want to end (as noted in yesterdays rambling post i personally may have wanted to hide away a couple of times as she pointed me out but sure didn't want her to stop), one last encore and with a 1AM curfew it was all over, it had been an absolute blast and worst thing was it had to end.
From then on it was time to head back to our chairs and chat and all that sort of thing, get the idea that none of us really wanted to leave but eventually (and with one mishap as per yesterdays post !!) we all did, all convinced we had seen something special.
With the festival over now i can recover and get back into running mode (just the simple pleasures of sleeping at night - rather than heading to bed at 2AM or later !- await me), still a soreish shoulder but much better than yesterday and at last nights Saxophone Jam.
I guess i should do a right up of it but honestly this was one two hour performance that simply writing about wouldn't do justice, we had Salty Dog (Marion playing guitar and harmonica but now with laryngitis so not singing) jamming with Filipina Mary and then Shari and then both as well as Rich Harper cranking up the volume in this smallish (and thankfully smoke free enforced !! venue), lots of familiar classics (funny enough we had Route 66 covered by Mary and Shari less than an hour after the house jazz band - which i'd seen a couple of hours of and they'd covered everything from 30's Jazz to Tina Turners "Simply the Best" and were very good even getting one of the blues players up to play at one point) and some real raw power as all the performers really let their hair down.
What a great way to end this 4 day musical extravaganza, i'd had time to come up with the definitive highlights day by day but admit there were simply too many, and possibly would have been biased simply by my enjoyment of particular songs or performers so hadn't the first 3 days, but i have to give my Saxophone Highlight to Filipina Mary's version of "Piece of my Heart" very early on in the set, there was a rawness and depth that stayed with me (having seen old video footage of the Janis Joplin Original i could make comparisions which really you shouldn't 40 years on but this was something).
Watching Steve from Salty Dog and Rich Harper simply making their guitars do magic would have been a reasonably close second (Salty Dogs "Wipeout" was a treat in this environment), but really there was not one moment when i was thinking i would have liked to be somewhere else (although my shoulder was giving me pains to that effect).
By 12:45 it was all over, time for a last chat with others i'd got to know over my time here as well as some of the performers all a down to earth great bunch.
Looking forwards to catching some of them again later in the year, but as for others maybe never again just a case of enjoy the memories.
Better than my words, go here :
and you'll see some performances on Youtube.
This blog will now resume normal transmission when i return to Australia !!!, think these last couple of posts have been for the sake of my memories more than anything else although i will add some pictures later i hope.

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