the train and the gate

In 1989 K was working a lot with a director who shot a bunch of things for PBS.
Sometimes he'd spend weeks on modern dance pieces, sometimes he did bits for Sesame Street (two of my boys are in segments) and twice (that I can remember) he did musical work.

It was really only supposed to be once, but there was a problem.
K flew to Toronto to shoot the guitarist Leo Kottke playing a concert.
We knew of Mr. Kottke's music and were excited about K doing the show.
He went, the concert was fantastic, the shoot went well, he came home and the editing began.
But it turned out that all of the footage was damaged. intermittent clamp streaking. None of it could be used.
All that work for nothing.
The audio track, however, was astounding. And K made me a cassette.

A couple of months later, after much negotiating and planning, Mr. Kottke did a second concert, at a different theater, with the same intent - a show for PBS.
It went without a hitch - the footage was perfect, the show was cut and aired and admired.
But that second show was different somehow.
Nearly as good, it had lost some of its passion, or Leo had...
He switched things up a bit and, to be sure, was still absolutely amazing to watch and listen to, but he just wasn't as present.
K made me an audio tape of the second show too - it was not as good.

Somewhere there is a copy, here in my house, of that first concert - and this song -
I played it so many times that I had K copy it again so I'd never lose it, so it wouldn't wear out the tape.
This version, from the second concert, is wonderful too - but not as stunning as the version from the first night, which builds to a crescendo that is unmatched...
enjoy it anyway -


Anonymous said…
amazing how musical performances can be just like life, some days you feel "great," and other are just "off." Thanks for sharing, what an amazing talent.
Anonymous said…
I'm going to see Leo Kottke live at our local theatre; it seats about 250 people max. Next Saturday. I've loved his music -- and his singing, I'm a sucker for "geese farts on a foggy day"-type gravelly voices-- since I was in college back in medieval times.
Anonymous said…
It's an amazing thing really, to lose some of your passion and still be so good.
Anonymous said…
Huge fan...I've seen him a couple of times. I love the way he interacts with the audience. He has a quirky, yet dry sense of humor.
Badger said…
I love slide guitar. Nobody does that anymore.
Anonymous said…
You will come to California. You will visit me. And then I will take you to Pefect Friend Terry's house, because the entire second floor of her house is a formal Japanese tea room, built by her in-laws to train their daughter in performing formal Japanese tea ceremonies. And then we'll get out Perfect Friend Terry's kimono collection and play dress up.
Anonymous said…