August 4th Show Review
The Elixir is a nice-sized club- it's not too big and it's not too small. The sightlines are good from everywhere as is the sound. The stage is set at the back of the club with a small dance floor in front. Behind the stage is a screen in which computer generated oil-in-water emulsion type images are projected. In front of the stage, hanging from the ceiling, is the famous mirrored disco ball. The age of the crowd was well mixed ranging from the early 20s to old farts like myself. Most of the younger crowd was there to see the opening acts (Betablokker and The Jay Harris Band) but many of them stayed to see Mick. During the Betablokker set the lead singer said he had met Mick earlier in the afternoon and that he was a great guy and he got several autographs for his Dad. This elicited some short titters of laughter from the crowd and I was dreading this as a harbinger of how the evening would go. It was a needless worry. Mick hit the stage at about 9:40PM backed by a very capable Canadian band. They played a full two hours and from the beginning it was obvious Mick came to play. His voice was strong and he was smiling and dancing around a lot. There was no fiddling with knobs or calls to the soundman. Just straight ahead rockin blues played by a master!! The backup band consisted of drums, keyboards, bass and guitar. They did a very good job of supporting him and they were excited to be playing with him. (I spoke with the drummer after the show and told him they did a good job. He thanked me and then he shook as if a shiver ran up and down his spine as he told me what an honor it was to be able to play with Mick.) The guitar was high up in the mix and it wasn't a bad thing it was a good thing. He wasn't as loud as Mick but he could be heard and he was a very sympathetic player. He and Mick meshed well together. The set list (below) had a big surprise for me with the inclusion of Leather Jacket. It was also refreshing for me to discover that the arrangements for the songs were more rocked up and bluesy with no long band solos ala Goin South. However, the biggest surprise of the night was the tone Mick was getting out of his setup and it was immediately obvious. He was playing a black Heritage Les Paul type guitar through a Marshall amp. (He used this guitar throughout the night with the exception of the last song when he switched to a Japanese Strat copy.) He seemed to be enjoying the sound he was getting out of this setup. Another surprise for me was that Mick was using a pick often throughout the set. Sometimes he would use it for a whole song; other times he would play part of the song with the pick and the rest with his fingers. The use of the pick changes Mick's attack and style of playing to one I favor more. The sound was reminiscent of Gimme Shelter from the 72 tour of the U.S. You just have to love it! I spoke briefly with Mick after the show and commented that the tone from his guitar and setup were fantastic and he said, I know. That's why I'm using them. Other things noted: - sometimes Mick used a metal slide and other times he used a glass slide - the band solos were short and sweet - there were no slow tempo drawn out blues or jazz numbers that sapped the pacing of the show This was a more energetic Mick than I've ever seen and the set reflected that with rockier arrangements. I thought it was a great show!! Here's the set list with some notes I scribbled down during the performance: 1) Secret Affair long slide intro; noticed a member of the staff videotaping; I don't know if they videotaped the whole show or just parts of it; I wonder if a copy is available 2) Twisted Sister Mick broke out the pick for this one. At one point it looked like he was fretting behind the slide ala Sonny Landreth while using a (wah?) effect. It sounded awesome. A little bit of Down Home Girl thrown in. 3) Late at NightI need you loving every day (I can't remember why I noted this.) 4) Blind Willie McTell glass slide used for this one. Little bit of Layla and later All Along the Watchtower thrown in. Bob Baker, guitarist for the band Tragically Hip was in the audience. During this song he got up out of his chair and moved close to the stage to watch. 5) You Got To Move the intro contained a lovely Middle Eastern motif; a bit of Catfish Blues (Two Trains whatever this song is called) was thrown in later in the song. 6) Alabama “ the second guitar started this song off by playing the rhythm. Mick was alternating between the slide and his fingers. 7) Leather Jacket“ this song was a big surprise for me. Parts of the song were played with the pick other parts were played with his fingers. 8) Losing My Faith the pick was used in this song and the solo began with a long sustained bent note. I can't find no resting place Mick repeated this line several times near the end of the song using different enunciations. 9) Fed Up With The Blues short band solos and the 2nd guitar was mixed up a bit higher. The metal slide makes an appearance again. This segued into a bit of Tore Down. Encore C) Can't You Hear Me Knockin “ the solo was slooowed down but still sounded great. 11) No Expectations glass slide was used and he played the Japanese Strat copy for the only time in the evening.
Jim Hill SW5
Mick Taylor's performance in Kingston was no less than spectacular!! He's not only a technical wizard on the guitar but the way he plays from his soul can only come from years of practice. His slide work as well as his finger picking technique was awesome. Mick did a couple of Stones covers (No Expectations and You got to Move) but he incorporated his signature Stones licks into many of his solos and he played the blues at a very high level. All through the two hour plus show he echoed Santana, Clapton and the like, but this guy takes a backseat to no one when it comes to laying down the riffs. It was a truly awe inspiring show!! I happened to see a very well known Canadian guitar player at the end of the show and I asked him how it felt to be the second best player in the house tonight and he replied " I'm not even CLOSE to that guy" amen.....................................................jhw