Nalen, Stockholm, Sweden
Review by Ivan Green / Setlist and notes by Per Frisell
Well, what do we have here? A slightly delayed concert, soundchecking once again, and another one to be sure, a last one to testify, a very last one to confirm. It didn't matter. T'was a warm evening, people gathering in the street (The Government Street), everybody full of expectation. We got inside the old dance hall, had beers and drinks, looked at the stage. It was styled! Everything in perfect order. Like an arrangement of the troops before the battle. And here comes the band, plug the equipment, lights on the Emperor! Yes, John Cale is the one. He rules – this night at The Government Street. And every night, I suppose.
The other man at the stage makes some pretty advanced adjustments of one of the guitars, using a screwdriver! Now the strings are in the right tenths of millimetres from the neck.
What is your favourite dish? You might also have a favourite sound. John Cale has one, the whines. They come from Boyers guitar, from the keyboard, and in most of the songs from the throats of the band. Yeah, we are going medieval, castrates all over the place. The collision of times causing our minds fall a bit apart. A nice, strange feeling.
The other man at the stage is constantly tuning guitars.
Yes, it takes an awful lot of time to be a genius. Gertrude Stein knew that. When the world around you makes no sense, when all you read is lies, when you can't belive what you see, there is only one thing to do. Create your one universe and make it perfect. John Cale has his own world now, a music-sound of world. A world to live in, to work in. It's hard to keep it clean. The amplifier have to be moved an inch, audience must be rebuked (only once at the end) and the band has to make every single sound as they are taught to. They are doing a great job. The Irascible has very few reasons to be angry.
But the other man at the stage is frightened. I can see it in his eyes and in his movements. Its not guitars he is handling, its boxes full of nitro.
Every John Cale song is a sketch, and he does the sketching just as powerful as Alec Guinness. The songs are stories. You must listen to the stories (Charlie Parker talking about country-music).
The other man at the stage doesn't act. He has just one horrified story to tell.
Yes, we have them deep buried into our ears. John Cale does care about our ears though. He wont let any disharmony flew into them. He gives us beauty. Is this a church? A ceremony?
The other man at the stage is evidently praying.
No, there is no improvisation. John Cale does the improvisation off-stage. Alone.
The other man at the stage has to improvise sometimes when the common non-cale-world obstinates.
Well, you can read about the songs in other reviews.
The other man at the stage doesn't sing along. I did, in Cable Houge, Picasso, Guts, Choral , and, of course, in Buffalo Ballet. I felt a bit like the other man, afraid of singing out of key!
The extras are all available at the small table. John Cale trows one in the audience after the regular set. Afterwards I tried to find it. Didn't.
The other man at the stage probably has extras and extras.
Almost simultaneous Lou Reed is in Sweden, playing at the Hultsfred festival. Starting, I have heard, the concert with a seven minutes long guitar solo. When the concert is finished most of the audience has already left the field.
The other man at the stage, is the last one to leave!