Mike Stern Live at the Jazz Cafe

I hadn’t been this excited about going to a show for a long time. I’ve been a fan of Mike Stern ever since I heard his album Play. Play was particularly important for me because it pulled me out of a long funk wherein I had completely stopped listening to music. Mike’s weird bendy notes and long eloquent lines reminded me again what a joy a great album can be. Thus it was that I was all agog with anticipation when I went down to the Jazz Cafe with my old concert buddy to watch the Mike Stern Band. And did they blow me away? Sadly, not.
Don’t get me wrong, the show was great! It’s just that the sound sucked and the drummer totally ruined the evening for me. So Mike’s got this hot female drummer who is absolutely horrible. Yes, her nipples show when she sweats and her beautifully toned arms and flat abs are a treat to look at but come on - does she really have to hit that drum so goddamn hard each and every goddamn time? And when one sees Mike cuddling her and blowing little kisses into her ear, it just makes one upset you know, like if she were good it would have been okay but she’s just a rank amateur….ah well. Also they played all the songs too fast and too loud. Listening now to my autographed CD of These Times I can’t help but notice how much better the songs sound when played a bit slower and without such a loud rhythm section. Damn you woman!
Mike has this way of making everything he plays seem so effortless. You’re watching him play and you think hey, I could do that! That is part of his genius. He did a couple of tracks from Play a few from These Times and many more that I hadn’t heard before (including a few from his upcoming album Who Let The Cats Out (aw Mike…c'mon!!)) Bob Franseschini was on sax and Chris Minh Doky on bass. Chris is the most awesome upright bassplayer I have seen in my life. He’d take these long complex runs down the fretboard and I swear he nailed every note bang on every time, time after time. Incredible. I’d seen Bob Franseschini one time before with Dave Weckl at this show and I think he looked a lot happier there. Mike’s a real sweet guy but the vibe from the band wasn’t great. I mean I’d be pissed as well if I’d had to put up with that drummer Kim Thompson. Mike is a real sweet guy. During the break he sold and signed the CDs himself and he was in such a good mood and he thanked everyone profusely for coming out and buying the CD.
Apart from all that though it was a great evening. It was a real treat and I consider myself priveleged to have seen Mike Stern play from five feet away.