Odd Transformations 25: Velcro, I Will Miss You

My dream from a few days ago involved my old childhood friend, Paul Landry, and I having a conversation.

He mentioned that he was now the artistic director of a theatre. When I asked him which play would be next, he said "Guys and Dolls."

"I love Guys and Dolls! I'll audition for you right now!

"Hey guys," I yell to the people that just popped into my view, one of them including Cristian, one of my Mill Woods co-workers. "You can sing 'More I Cannot Wish You,' right?"

They mumble to themselves, and shake their heads. And I start singing my part to the old jazz arrangement we sang back in high school regardless.

* * *

Rajaton. What can I say? Easily the second best a cappella concert I've seen. Granted, I've seen three, and while Rockapella was good, it was Rockapella. Also, nothing makes me swoon a cappella-wise like jazz harmonies.

The best a cappella concert I've seen? The Real Group, 1995, Rocky Mountain Music Festival.

Astro was there, although at that point, we didn't know each other. One of Dev's grad school classmates, and one of my old high school friends, Jamie, apparently told him the same thing.

While I loved (loved) the Rajaton concert, I'm pretty immersed in a cappella at this point. Since I've met 'Ka and joined CASA, my a cappella knowledge grew in leaps and bounds.

But in 1995, when I went to a festival with my jazz choir and we saw the Real Group? That was magic. My first professional a cappella show.

Earlier in the day, we were watching the Campbell Classics (our Saskatchewan jazz choir nemeses) perform at a workshop, and they did this HORRIBLE Beatles arrangement. I was shuddering and grimacing to Kai about it.

When these five Swedes came on the stage, and started doing Count Basie? I was Blown. Away.

And when they went into the opening notes of the Beatles' Drive My Car, I had this huge shit-eating grin on my face. And told Kai, "THAT is how you arrange the Beatles!"

So I had fallen in love with the Real Group.

Rajaton is just as technically proficient as the Real Group. Beautiful arrangements, amazing blend, a great stage presence. They can mimic instruments well, as in their Lady Madonna (Yes, every jazz group is contractually obligated to perform at least one Beatles tune).

The set list was really well done. Except for a bad I Believe cover (Stevie Wonder) that, while it was done well, just really didn't do anything for me, because I'm such a jerk when it comes to arrangements.

I think one of my high points (cover-wise, because the non-covers, or at least, not obvious covers were amazing) was the Abba cover "Fernando." They took it so mock-serious during the verses, really putting forth the love letter to a revolutionary to such serious depths that it was hilarious.

The sound engineer they had was great, but it also made the concert seem TOO polished at times, like when the alto did an electric guitar solo by having the engineer crank up the distortion. It sounded cool, but I know it was all the sound guy.

So, it was a good thing I went for sure, because I totally enjoyed myself.

Astro, after the concert: So, Jago, what did you think?
Me (in a completely put-on blase tone): Eh. They're no KOW...
Astrogirl: Isn't that a good thing?
Me: Yes. Yes, it is.

* * *

I found my punchline that usually makes people laugh: "My mother was a saint!"

Other than the one person who seriously thought my mother was dead after I said that and started apologizing.

God damn this deadpan style of mine!

On second thought, no.

* * *
Reading: Finishing off Lost in a Good Book, by Jasper Fforde. So good, and completely different from The Eyre Affair, also so good.

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