Mick Taylor’s Band: New Morning Tokyo Concert 2009
DVD Review by Riccardo Dancona

Track Listings:

Secret Affair-Twisted Sister-Losing My Faith-You Shook Me-Burying Ground-Blind Willie McTell-No Expectations- On the Road with MT: 28th April 2000:
                  - interview with MT (1998 in France)
                  - You Gotta Move (Fred McDowell/Rev. Gary Davis) -Geneve 4.4.95, part only
                  - MT plays some classical notes on piano
                  - “I’m Going Home” ( ) -MT on vocals and slide guitar
                  - I Wonder Why (Albert King) -Geneve 4.4.95, part only
                  - Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (MJ/KR) -Geneve 4.4.95, part only
                  - Honky Tonk Women (MJ/KR) -London, Hyde Park 5.7.69
                  - MT plays some licks on guitar on a flea market
                  - Blues In The Morning (MT) -unknown VH-1-special, ca. April 1998
                  - Blind Willie McTell (Bob Dylan) -MT on vocals and slide guitar
                  - Losing My Faith (MT/Hillary Briggs) -unknown VH-1-special, ca. April 1998
                  - You Shook Me (Willie Dixon) -Geneve 4.4.95, part only
                  - You Gotta Move (Fred McDowell/Rev. Gary Davis) -Geneve 4.4.95, cont.

The new product from MT is finally an official DVD, coming some 10 years after the last cd A Stones Throw. 

One option considered was of presenting a selection of songs spanning the whole solo career of Taylor,
but that idea was scrapped in favour of a recent live performance. Originally it was supposed to come
from a Paris concert held on July 2
nd 2009, but Mick was suffering from pleurisy and his performance
wasn’t up to his standard and so the 21
st April Tokyo performance was selected instead. A great show
with the whole band in top form that was already available to fans and collectors via some bootlegs DVDs.
It shows Mick playing a standard set (remember this was the first show on the 21
st, usually shorter than the 2nd set)
in Tokyo broadcasted live by Japan tv from the Billboard Club. In regard to the bootleg version of course the official
one is better looking as the footage is shown with full screen and great audio selection (PCM stereo, 5.1 or dts are the choices)
with full colours and great close ups on Mick’s fingers (for example during “You Shook Me”). This is a particularly good version
of the MT Band as with the usual great players (Kuma Harada on bass, Max Middleton on keyboards and manager Jeff Allen on drums)
new guitarist Denny Newman gives some different blues licks while backing Mick’s ones. Strangely on the DVD cover there is still New Morning
mentioned as if the show was coming from that Paris club, but the whole DVD is credited to The M.Taylor Band and not just to him, a sign of a
better cohesion between the players and a renewed alliance we can suppose, that could materialize in a new album we hope. The selection of
songs leaves no room to surprise as the first batch of them could come from any concert from 98 onwards. “Secret Affair” is presented without
the spoken introduction from Tokyo (there are some cuts here and there) and is a perfect opener for Taylor with its subtle but classy vibrato
progressions. It is followed by a rockier version of “Twisted Sister” that brings the pace higher while “Losing My Faith” brings back the blues
feel that is highlighted once more by his version of Muddy Waters classic “You Shook Me” where the second solo is from Denny Newman.

The only new tune is again from Denny Newman, called “Burying Ground” where he gets the spotlight. Some people have moaned about the
lack of stage movement or wizardry that are supposed to be needed elements of any live performance, here we can get into Taylor’s world
where no room is given to gimmicks of any sort: music for the purists we can call it. Certainly if you want to listen to this concert with headphones
(I am not suggesting to burn a cd out of this DVD, although with no official audio product, what can a poor boy do to listen on a portable audio player?)
there is no doubt that lots of pleasure can be enjoyed: it is not only the technical ability of the musicians but the mood they put you into that allows smooth
transition from the everyday life into a semi dream environment where the mind can follow those bluesy tones and lose touch with reality while entering the
realm of maybe. All possibilities are open when you daydream and this music certainly helps in changing focus and that is much needed once in a while.

Obviously the visual factor enhances the chances to enjoy this show as the camera selects unobtrusive angles at times showing the whole band, at times
focusing on which instrument is leading or making a solo (as the piano on “Burying Ground”): fading in and out and showing side shots or even shots
from the above give the dynamicity that is lacking from rapid stage movements that no one is keen to do. One of the few in between songs comment is
given before “Blind Willie McTell” the Dylan song that Taylor's called ‘Almost as long as the Bible, not quite though’. This song holds all of Taylor band’s
trademarks from the plastic piano opening to the strong rock riffs in the beginning to the guitar and slide solos in the middle and end of it. Dylan’s poignant
and somehow obscure lyrics dress well this anthem that, abandoned by his composer, has become a signature tune for Mick Taylor. Then there is the encore
that comes from Beggars Banquet:”No Expectations” played in a different style than the original version on which Brian Jones slide painted a rather sad and
gloomy atmosphere. Here Taylor chooses to play a strong rock riff that encapsulates the former chords while ending the show on a hard note.

On the features there is also an interview recorded in the late 90s by French TV broadcaster Muzzik, originally titled "Sur la Route with Mick Taylor", 
in English On the Road with Mick Taylor presents a fresh insight into Taylor’s world after the release of A Stones’ Throw. It is an interview (from 1998) with him while playing his piano or showing him running on a field with his dog and with different live songs excerpts: something many Taylor fans know but could be interesting for new ones, where he also tells how he started playing, asking John Mayall to join him on stage at 17 years of age because Eric Clapton hasn’t showed up for a live gig.

This extra also helps the total length of this DVD to reach the 100 minutes threshold. While waiting from another studio album we can just dig this new product,
hoping its successor will come out soon

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