Frabjous Times

July 4, 2004 concert

On Sunday, July 4, we went to Tanglewood to hear Diana Krall and opening act Olabelle. We sat on the lawn towards the back, under a light overcast, not far from the main entrance.
The psychedelic component to Ollabelle's music was quite noticeable, although their last piece "Down by the Riverside" was more of a spiritual trance antiwar interpretation. They drew a big crowd afterwards at the store at the glass house among autograph seekers.
The performance by Diana Krall and her quartet turned out to be more challenging of a listen. Her solos were studies in harmonic complexities, with a full sound as if she were raking in big gobs of notes with both hands. Is "maximalist" a word? At the end she put on a show with some stride piano with total credibility. Guitar sideman Anthony Wilson did some fine work which somehow reminded me of the guitar sound of the 1970's (I'm thinking of John McLaughlin and Al Di Meola). It was all handsome and chewy and a little hard to take in all at once in this setting.
It has been a couple of years since I've been to an outdoor music event, and even longer since Pam and I have both been to one, but I don't remember the level of inattention among the concertgoers. "What are all these people babbling about?" I asked rhetorically. It drove me nearly crazy, eventually leading me to find a better listening location up close to the Shed where I could actually see the performance also. I am told that the classical performances at Tanglewood are a little less bustling, and though I don't like excessive solemnity at these kinds of events, I think I would like to be able to hear more easily.
After the concert and the one encore, we stayed for the modest fireworks display over the Stockbridge bowl. Over the years I've become less and less of a fan of fireworks, perhaps from having watched too many explosions breaking over cities foreign and domestic on cable news, but this was a display with a difference. From our spot back on the lawn, the aerial bursts were seen through a large oak tree, making it look as if it were spangled with lights quickly fading.
Originally published: 2004/07/06 06:55:00