THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT…Not in a million years did I think I would ever get to see them live. Not only did I think they never toured, I’d written off ever seeing them in person. Happily, I was wrong about that. Parsons’ music is some of most ingenious on the planet.
About six months ago, almost the minute I heard they were coming to Dallas, I could not wait to get the best seat in the house. I was in the Loge Section, to the left of the stage at a sold out Majestic Theatre. For those not familiar with this spot, it’s where the Muppet characters Statler and Waldorf sit, and harass the Muppet actors on stage. Not a bad spot for anything, and the staff let me bring my camera in without hassle. I was very happy about that. The view was tremendous and I get to share some memories with you all.
A brief history about Alan Parsons, he is from London, England (seems the majority of my favorites come from London). He got his start in Abbey Road Studios in 1967 and helped engineer such famous albums like THE BEATLES Abbey Road and PINK FLOYD Dark Side of the Moon, for which he received a Grammy nomination. Parsons can really mesh all technical music together and to me is one of the very best songwriters on the planet. While not the original band, the one he did bring to Dallas consists of very top notch musicians.
They selected 20 from their repertoire for the main set and two as the encore. If you are a Parsons fan like I am, you would recognize everything they played. It is interesting how the lyrics come back to you even if you haven’t heard them in 20 years. Now, the show.
Heading off the set was “I Robot” from the 1977 album of the same name. It is a techno genius with keyboard and synthesizer. At that time, there was nothing like that to my knowledge. Electronic music was just beginning in the mainstream and even then one only recognized its occasional use. Parsons pulled out all the possibilities from those instruments and continued to blow people’s minds over the next 40 years.
Included in the primary set were very familiar tunes such as “Damned if I Do”, “Don’t Answer Me”, “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” and “Primetime”. To me, the best moment in the show was when the band put together the compilation known as “Turn of a Friendly Card” (TOFC) which consists of five songs being “Turn of a Friendly Card, Part 1”, “Snake Eyes”, “The Ace of Swords”, “Nothing Left to Lose” and “Turn of a Friendly Card, Part 2”. The lyrics and natural progression, not only in musical genious but storytelling in this compilation, was spellbinding. They received a standing ovation for at least five minutes. It was an incredible thing to witness.
“Limelight” was another classic. Introduced by Parsons himself, he mentioned to the audience the song was written by the late Eric Woolfson. Although Parsons was sure the song was about Woolfson, he says he denied it. It has very compelling lyrics with such emotion. The band finished the night after a very enthusiastic encore chant from the audience, with “Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether” and “Games People Play”.
In a gracious and humble way and to me the most class a band can show, THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT ended the night with a bow to the audience. There is something about this tradition that is the epitome of class. It shows they appreciate their fans.
When I was in the theater, I looked around and saw all of these people with gray hair and most were in their 50’s and 60’s. I was astounded to think there were so many “old” people there, until I realized, that I’m one of them. Many of them go see their idols, they see the big names. They giggle like little kids, shirts tucked in, puka shell necklaces and loafers. I appreciate their enthusiasm, but they don’t get it. There are a handful of us, who love live music with all our hearts. We love the “feel” of the venue. We will stand in front of a small stage for hours hoping to catch a pick, get a set list or catch the eye and smile of the musician.
We lean on the stage and absorb the vibration from the bass drum. We are addicted to the feel and the electricity of the place. We have the appreciation and respect for the artist and would do anything for any of them. We are disappointed when our photos suck, but we are humbled and grateful because we were there and had the opportunity. We truly live music and that’s what this is all about. I was so very honored to have seen these guys, and I’m so glad they came our way. Salude’
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: MARK EHRLICH