Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

A Yes Concert, a Brad Concert, a Cool Meeting and a Mini Memoir in GP Week

November 21, 2011

The above headline could be the worst I ever wrote on this blog as I try to cram in so many words and ideas that it makes no sense at all. But in that way alone, it is probably appropriate for this post which will be a round-up of my weekend. I was so busy that I had no time to update the blog for a day or two or whatever it was. So now I have to roll all the bits and pieces into one – and I will start with the freshest and work back.

Since the last Formula One race I had been working on a story about my musical adventures along with the race travel – the stuff this blog is mostly all about. And today that tiny little “memoir” – of 1700 words – of my last three years traveling around the world and playing in open mics, has been published in a neat racing magazine called GP Week. You just click on the link and go to the site and start clicking on the pages until you find my story on pages 30 – 31, and it has photos too….

The other bit of news was my concert last night at the HideOut bar on the rue du Pot de Fer in Paris, just off the rue Mouffetard. I was invited to play an acoustic concert- along with any other band members I might want to bring – as part of the first of a series of Lazy Sunday afternoon concerts that the bar will host between 19:00 and 21:00 every Sunday.

The bar is a cool, long, place with wooden tables and chairs, sports television and music. It’s cosy, and has a friendly atmosphere. I was invited to play by the organizer of the concerts, Syd Alexander, who is the lead singer of The Burnin’ Jacks. My lead gutarist, Felix Beguin, is of course none other than the lead guitarist of the Burnin’ Jacks. I also invited Justin Purtill to play bass, as I jammed with Justin at an open mic earlier in the week and found not only that we could do some really convincing stuff off the cuff with no preparation, but that we got along well and there was a great vibe. In fact, Justin is an astonishingly good bass player, and he is also a sometimes quite shockingly good singer songwriter.

For last night, Justin and I did go over most of the songs we played beforehand, to ensure some sense of professionalism…! And it worked, with Justin and Felix and me on vocals and guitar, I had fun and got some good reactions from the audience. It felt warm and nice…. I also loved the moment Felix put down the guitar and joined me on vocals in Cat’s in the Cradle.

Just before going into the HideOut I was walking up the street and wondering aloud where exactly the venue was located when a voice came from a restaurant terrace table: “Just keep going up the street there, Brad.” I turned around to see a woman whom I had noticed momentarily before but did not recognize, and she rose to her feet and introduced herself: “It’s Heather Munro,” she said.

Of course! It was my fellow blogger of HeatherBlog, who reads this blog and does a fabulous blog of her own about her life, her photography and writing. (She touches amazing chords of common experience….) And she had come to Paris for a holiday and had come to hear my concert yesterday. It was a wonderful meeting and would never have happened without the blogosphere. Today Heather wrote about our meeting and the concert as part of her round-up of her day in Paris yesterday – along with some of her photos of Paris, and of me and the band….

Finally, Saturday night I went for the first time in my life to see the progressive rock band, Yes, at the Olympia in Paris. I had listened to them since I was about 15. Seeing them for the first time – I had seen Rick Wakeman solo in the mid-70s – was a revelation. Jon Anderson, the singer, was not present. But they have another singer, a Canadian, who used to play in a Yes tribute band and who does a great job on singing the band’s stuff almost the way Anderson does. That’s hard to believe until you see it live. Still, I sometimes preferred to close my eyes to pretend it was the real Jon Anderson… but anyway….

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