Online Drum Lessons


Not Just About the Drums

by Omar on November 24, 2008

in DVD Review, Editorials, Event Review

As many of you may do, I often go through some videos in my stash to view some of the drumming performances again.  I may have missed some nuance that I didn't notice before, or maybe I might want to see how the song was, well, drummed, so I might play it and put my little spin on it.

I ran into a couple of performances, however, that the more I saw them, the more I realized it's not just about the drums.  It's about the whole musical experience.  The music may take you somewhere you've been before (or thought you've been before), or it takes you somewhere where you'd like to be.

Journey:  Revelation

A few months back Journey appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show.  My wife is a fan of the show, and when Journey played "Separate Ways," she remembered how much she likes the song and others by them.  This was much to my liking, since I liked Journey very much when I was growing up.  Some time later, they came out with their Revelation CD/DVD, which contained a CD with new songs, one with remakes of some of their classics, and a DVD with a concert they performed in Las Vegas.  So I bought it for my wife, which she loved.  But I was very interested in their DVD performance.

Journey has a little spot in my heart in that they were the first concert I ever went to, during their Frontiers tour in 1982.  I was a very impressionable little lad then, so you can imagine how blown away I was by the experience.  We sat way in the back of the arena way at the top, so they weren't the best seats.  But that didn't matter to me.  Bryan Adams was the opening act, and when he came out for an encore I thought it was Journey (well, I couldn't really see them!).  I liked Steve Smith's drumming very much, but I was blinded by Neil Peart at the time so I didn't notice Steve as much as I should have (that would come later).

Back to the present.  So I slip the DVD into the player to watch the concert.  The band was excellent. I didn't know their new tunes very well but they sounded very good.  The ‘oldies' were spot on.  If any of you were Journey fans at one point and maybe lost interest over the years, I strongly recommend you watch this DVD.  If you close your eyes, you might not tell that Steve Perry was not the singer - their current singer (Arnel Pineda) sang brilliantly.  I've always thought that Neal Schon was an underrated guitarist, but to me he is a complete guitarist, rhythm and lead.

But of course, The Paradiddler is going to observe the drumming most intently, and that is being handled these days by Deen Castronovo.  I never heard of him until he started playing for Journey, but from what I see he's very, very good!  But not only for his drumming.

This guy can sing!  I was in for a surprise, because the song he sang was "Mother, Father", from they're Escape release.  Coincidentally, this is my favorite Journey song of all, drumming and everything.  Not only did he play the song masterfully, he sounded very much like Steve Perry!  The performance brought me back to my younger years in a way I did not expect.  It transcended the drumming performance - it was a grand musical experience that moved me.  I would recommend the DVD just for this song, but I know they perform songs that are more recognizable in the mainstream, which were also great performances as well.

Soundstage:  Fleetwood Mac

Now this is not going to be an endorsement for HDTV per se, but if you don't have it, get it. Not only is the picture better, but the sound is also.  Stereo sounds great, but it sounds even better hooked up to a 5.1 Dolby receiver.  Anyway, the reason I mention this is because the high definition music channel Palladia has the Soundstage series where they feature various artists.  If you have Comcast, it is listed on their On Demand channel, so you can watch whenever you like.  While I was perusing, I noticed they had Fleetwood Mac listed, so I checked it out.

This was a show that was performed in Boston in 2003 and later presented on PBS, and later released to DVD.  But no matter, ‘cause I hadn't seen it!  I have to confess that I am not a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, but there are several of their songs that I like a lot. But I am a huge fan of live music.  You could say that I'd watch anything if it was live.  But this performance was far from "anything".

I wasn't looking so much for the drumming experience, but for the live experience.  I didn't watch the show expecting Mick Fleetwood to wow me with his drumming prowess.  This group is not about the individual performances (well, at least that's my opinion), but the whole musical experience.  And this was a wondrous experience.

They played a mix of some of their older songs, some new ones at the time, and songs from their solo projects (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham).  I hadn't heard some of the songs they played (actually, a lot of them), but the experience just brought me somewhere that I couldn't exactly define or describe.  I found myself compelled to keep watching, to keep listening - I felt part of the crowd.  The relationship Lindsey and Stevie shared (at least the good times - I'm not privy too much to their history) was implied throughout the performance.  It was genuine.  I particularly felt somewhere else when they played "Gypsy" from their Mirage release.  I was a kid when it came out.  It's not so much what the song says, but the mood it puts me in when I remember how I was when it was released.  All in all, a very good time, a very good show.

So as I mentioned before, it's not all about the drums.  Both shows had very good drumming, both drummers served their songs more than they served themselves, each within the context of the type of music they were playing.  Sure myself, and maybe many of you, will notice a band for the great drumming.  But in the end, it's all about the music, and how it moves you.

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