Presented by Adelaide International Guitar Festival 2012
Reviewed Thursday 9 August 2012
The Festival Theatre is a practical solution to meet the audience demand for one-night only concerts in our International Guitar Festival, but the static use of the stage by musicians doesn’t necessarily make it a good one.
The sensational John Scofield Trio, and their opening act, The Airbenders, are a point in fact. Both bands are superb and their respective repertoires are a fine showcase of their talents. Visually however, they’re trapped by their instruments, giving nothing more than a predominantly static concert more suited to a jazz club than a traditional theatre space.
The Airbenders’ all too brief session opened the night with a handful of numbers from their 2011 self-titled album. The 40 minute set featured Mike Stewart on saxophone, Paul White on a Hammond organ, Andrew Dickeson on drums and guest guitarist Hugh Stuckey.
Although not as uptempo as one would expect for an opening act, on offer was an impressive line up of numbers, giving each musician ample opportunity to shine.
The John Scofield Trio comprises Ben Street on bass, Bill Steward on drums and legendary improviser John Scofield on electric guitar. Over four decades, Scofield has purportedly become one of the most influential guitarists working today. He makes his guitar sing and demonstrates as much generosity to his fellow band members on stage as he does to his audience.
In a concert lasting over 90 minutes, the Trio dusted off old favourites like How Deep is the Ocean, Tennessee Waltz, and Swinganova from Scofield’s 2000 album Bump, mixing them with newer tracks like Season Creep, written by Scofield earlier this year.
While visually there was little to see for anyone sitting too far back to admire the finger work, watching a master at play is never a disappointment and the music is what it’s about.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis, Performing Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide.
Venue: Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Street, Adelaide
Season: 9 August only