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2008 Buddy Rich Memorial Concert – Highlights From The Paradiddler (Part Two)

by Omar on November 9, 2008

in Drummers, Event Review

The first half of the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert was a hit, so the second half had a lot to live up to. And it didn’t disappoint.

Tommy Igoe came back to perform a couple more songs, “The Chicken” and “La Fiesta”. According to the program, “La Fiesta” was to be performed during the first part of the show, but for some reason it was moved to the second half. Don’t know if that changed after the program was sent to print, but no matter. It was still great. His performance of “La Fiesta” was nothing short of phenomenal. It was so fluent, and he displayed perfect one-handed rolls. The solo, and the whole performance in general, was very spirited.

Next up was a special guest, Peter Erskine of Weather Report fame. He wasn’t on the program, and all were pleased to see him and his performance. I don’t know much about him, but his technique was flawless and definitely worth this Paradiddler’s investigation. He has even given Neil Peart a few lessons as of late, which you can read about at Neil’s web site (he also talks about his experience at the BRMC, which is a fascinating read). It looked like Peter played on Igoe’s kit. It’s good to be flexible, right?

Nick Rich was next up. Now I haven’t been following Nick’s career, but I didn’t get the impression that people expect him to be like his grandfather. Maybe some do, but I didn’t see that. Nobody’s Buddy Rich, even if you’re related to him! But he played very well. He played “Beulah Witch” and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”, and he played them in his style. He didn’t overplay them, so the performances were very respectable.

I was really looking forward to Chad Smith’s performance. I’m not a huge fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and from what I’ve heard his drumming hadn’t impressed me much. But I realize it was because I wasn’t listening, and I’ll be listening some more. It’s about nuance, and he plays with plenty of it. I’ll be scrutinizing his style of play going forward.

His first song was “Dani California”. That’s a really good song, and I think I liked this big band arrangement more than the original! Chad was really high-spirited for this performance. Very enjoyable.

The next song is one of my favorite songs, “Hocus Pocus” by Focus. This is a great instrumental that I’ve always loved, and this version was very fun to watch and very entertaining. I couldn’t describe it; you just have to view it when the DVD comes out (it is possible that drumchannel.com will have clips of the show available, so tune in there). Chad also played “Birdland”, which was pretty funny.

I have to admit that I was most looking forward to Neil Peart’s performance, although I definitely was not bored waiting. It was an incredible night of drumming. Some of the drummer’s during the night before their performances talked about Buddy and the songs they were going to perform, their approach, and whatnot. But Neil’s intro was the best one. He spoke about his earliest influences, from his father’s taste in music and how it influenced him, to a great tribute to the musicality of Buddy Rich.

He played four songs, “Love for Sale”, “Time Will Tell”, “Cotton Tail/One O’clock Jump”, and a big band version of Rush’s “YYZ” (ok, five songs technically). “Love for Sale” was performed on the “Burning for Buddy” tribute by Steve Gadd, and I have to admit I liked Steve’s version better (Neil would probably admit that too! But I’m just guessing). It was a good performance, don’t get me wrong. But it looked like he was concentrating a whole lot to make sure he was spot on, and it didn’t look relaxed.

“Cotton Tail” and “One O’clock Jump” was really good, and fortunately it included a drum solo, and this is where Neil shined. Something about his solos makes it so you can’t look away. They are very well composed; they are songs within themselves. I will be reviewing “Anatomy of a Drum Solo” and his various solos throughout his career, so be looking out for those.

Lastly was the big band version of “YYZ”. This was a lot of fun (Jeff Berlin was playing Geddy Lee as the bass player, and was very respectable). Here was a lesson on how to play a song written for a large kit and adapting it to a small one. I very much liked the adaptation, which I don’t think is easy to do, but which Neil pulled off stellarly.

And that was it! It was very educational, and the diversity and background of drummers just showed that, us drummers can and do get along and we just want to have fun and share our knowledge and want others to get better as well. And learning to play Buddy Rich’s songs is a great way to become a better player, no doubt!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ChrisTexan December 18, 2013 at 10:01 am

LOL, a comment on an ANCIENT post, but I just found your site this week. Anyhow, if this is the particular year I remember hearing this about (not sure), Neil basically ended up getting to the venue literally last minute, and was highly disappointed about not having much time to rehearse, basically went in “cold”. It might not have been this year in particular, but I remember hearing in an interview about one of the tributes that he felt disappointed he hadn’t done justice to what he was wanting to be a grand tribute.

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Omar December 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

Hey Chris.

Any reply to any post is most welcome. Comment away! 🙂

I guess maybe then that’s why I noticed his performance was not as ‘up to snuff’ as in other times, but it was pretty good nonetheless.

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