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VOLUME 86, sent June 28, 1997

Topics in this issue:
  1. Steve at Glastonbury
  2. Spreading Winwood Cheer!
  3. Reply to Steve Seim
  4. Need Brentwood gig
  5. Re: Interview in Brussels
  6. Finally heard it!!
  7. Re: Musicians on tour
  8. Holy Ground & Riverdance = Davy Spillane
  9. Review of Cambridge gig

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From: "Dianne L. Hoogendoorn" 
Subject: Steve at Glastonbury
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 10:08:29 -0400 (EDT)

Confirmation on Teletext last night that Steve Winwood will  be heading the
bill on Sunday 29 June at Glastonbury  Festival. YAY!!!!!! (Guess who has a
ticket)

Also, SW is on tour around England in the next few weeks.  Check out NME or
Melody Maker for dates.

Cheers
Dianne Hoogendoorn


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From: pakopako@juno.com
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 20:18:45 -0500
Subject: Spreading Winwood Cheer!

I  finally got around to reading 84, and I was just so happy to see those three
posts about the Winwood concert in LA.  It was really great to see that Steve
would take time to actually meet some of his fans.  I was so impressed that I
shipped it to a bunch of my friends from all over saying, "See, this is why Steve
Winwood is cool."  I also invited them to come with me to any concerts he has
in the area (If he is doing small venues, I think the Bricktown in Oklahoma
City might be able to snag him this fall/winter.  Well, I can hope at least =)

I do have my story to tell about the day the album came out.  I'm staying with
my aunt in Minneapolis doing an internship with Norwest bank.  Of course, I
was working Tuesday when it came out, but my aunt was doing some shopping
and she said that she would pick it up at the Downtown Minneapolis Sam
Goody.

She called me at work and told me that Goody didn't have it, which I thought
was rather strange.  She said the girl that helped her couldn't find anything but
the single on CD. So after work I ran to a smaller Sam Goody on the way home
(ah, the joys of a 45 minute commute, so many stores and temptations to spend
my money!) and looked for the CD.  Sure enough, it wasn't in the new releases
section.  But I had the foresight to look in the regular Winwood and low and
behold, there it was.

Sometimes I just feel so uninspired.

Hmmm, LA with SW, Minneapolis hunting for the CD.  (Oh well, better than
rural Nebraska hunting for the CD, eh Mary? =)  I think LA would have won
any day.

Eric Brown


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From: "Elena Iglio" 
Subject: Reply to Steve Seim
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 08:47:27 +0200

Everybody is entitled to his opinion, but anyway it is there for anybody to see
that NONE of Steve Winwood or Jim Capaldi solo or joined efforts outside
Traffic - contemporary to the original band or not - don't possess Traffic's
magic, Traffic sound or inspiration. Given the fact that Traffic stayed and got
their highlights without Dave Mason, another indisputable fact, and that you
couldn't certainly hold Reebop responsible for the songs or the sounds, this left
only ONE indication about who gave Traffic its unique, never equaled flavor....
Besides, Steve has MANY TIMES pointed out that Traffic was a collective
unity, and the fact that he and Jim signed most of the songs doesn't mean that
Chris didn't arrange them or add ideas  - he always did it. My father is a
composer/arranger and never gets credited for arranging a song, but when
somebody comes up with a demo and a tune strummed on a guitar, it certainly
isn't the same as you hear it live on the record !!  Live Traffic 1994 is certainly
technically perfect and flawless as Bramblett sound is but COLD and
unimaginative. Traffic 1994 was two people paying a tribute to the one who
wasn't there anymore and who, in STEVE's words, not mine, was ultimately
responsible for the character of the original Traffic and his sound. Read his
biography and the many articles where Steve said that.

Oh, and By The Way, you must not even be that much of a Beatles
connoisseur.... "Something", "While my guitar gently Weeps", "Here comes the
sun"..... George wasn't EXACTLY a nobody, huh? and the Beatles wouldn't
have been the same without HIM, either!!

Regards,
Ellie


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From: "Gary Ames" 
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 22:56:37 +0000
Subject: Need Brentwood gig

I am going to see Steve at Cambridge on 27th - a review to follow , if you like -
sadly some tickets still unsold ( the Corn Exchange is not a massive
venue).What's that quote about a prophet never being truly recognized in his
own land?

Enjoyed the unofficial page - the midi of Low Spark is playing as I type.

I AM DESPERATE !!

Saw the review of the Traffic Brentwood gig on the page - do you  have/ can
you put me in touch with some one who can get me an audio copy? I was at this
excellent show - one of the best gigs I have ever been  to and one I am keen to
relive Please help a mad keen addict across the water!!

Cheers!
gary


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From: "Les Jacobson"
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 08:42:38 -0500
Subject: Re: Interview in Brussels

FYI.

Les

- Forwarded by Les Jacobson/Antec on 06/23/97 08:41 AM -

MARK.COENEN@BRTN.BE on 06/23/97 07:57:32 AM
To:   Les Jacobson/Antec
Subject:  AW: Question for Steve Winwood

steve cancelled the interview because he had the flu.

mc


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From: pakopako@juno.com
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 19:44:54 -0500
Subject: Finally heard it!!

Oh yeah, just to let you know, I finally heard "Spy" on the radio for the first
time today.  It followed "don't Fear the Reaper" on the Minneapolis Classic
Rock station.  Hmmm, guess that means that J7 is already considered a classic.

You know, Bobbie was probably expecting me to say that I finally heard "John
Barleycorn" on the radio or something =)

Eric


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From: "BobbieG." 
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 18:59:05 -0700
Subject: Re: Musicians on tour

The fanzine Coloured Rain recently published the list of musicians who played
with Steve in the UK recently.  I don't know if these are the same that played
here, but here's the list anyway:

SW: vocals, Hammond organ, Fender Strat, mandolin
Randall Bramblett: sax, flute, keyboards
Martin Ver Donk: percussion
Walfredo Reyes: drums
Scott Firth: bass
Mike McEvoy: keyboards, guitar, violin, musical director
Tim Cansfield: guitar
Kevin Robinson: trumpet, keyboards, backing vocals, percussion
Valerie and Emma: backing vocals

Bobbie


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From: Winwoodie@aol.com
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 1997 03:37:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Holy Ground & Riverdance = Davy Spillane

Some of you probably already know that Davy Spillane from the Traffic song
"Holy Ground" is featured in the "Riverdance" video playing Uilleann Pipes.
The instrument & music sounded so much like "Holy Ground" I figured it had
to be the same musician & sure enough it is.  Rent "Riverdance" if you want to
watch Davy Spillane play the Uilleann Pipes.

Craig Loudon


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From: "Gary Ames" 
Date: Sat, 28 Jun 1997 12:28:55 +0000
Subject: Review of Cambridge gig

I could have been at Glastonbury

Friday night - rush home from work , off to see Steve at the Corn Exchange in
Cambridge. It's rained all week and just yesterday I had a letter from the venue
to say there will be no support band and Steve will take the stage at 8:30/8:45 .
I have been told that the venue closes at 10:00 and believe that he will be
playing some of the new stuff . I've been that immersed with work , that I've not
heard the new album - sadly , as I usually greet any new release from our
leader with the same level of obsession that any subscriber to Smiling Phases
should feel!

The omens are mixed..... I get to Cambridge - the street is full of folk in
evening wear - no doubt University balls and so on . Get to the Corn Exchange,
the radio is talking about the mudbath  is the annual Glastonbury festival - .
One of my most treasured video clips is the "Gimme some lovin'" finale from
the Traffic set there years ago . Should Steve be there , should I? We're both too
old? I even have a balcony seat for the Cambridge show - but no longer do I
want to sit right in front of the amps..

In the Corn Exchange there is an expectant throng , chatting in the bar - all
ages shapes and sizes - testimony to Steve's appeal to a wide audience. The
oldest are say 50 ish , there is a young lad of about 7 and a load of people in
mid/late teens . The denim is a bit more designer than I recall , but otherwise
no real change in dress .

Off to my seat - joined on my left by a couple who talk in a foreign language
(Portuguese ?) and seem quite underwhelmed . The lights go down , my heart
flutters a bit and the band quietly and modestly come on stage , no fanfare  , no
quasi- Orchestral intro. , no firecrackers - typical of Steve really .

The Band go into an instrumental . 2 keyboards , bass , guitar , drums and
Congas . The solid percussion that is , I believe at the root of the best of Traffic
- . Just like some of my favourite Traffic boot tapes , the instrumental moves on
and the "feel of the Band gradually pervades itself . A good , unassuming , but
overall musical start to proceedings .

This segues into "I'm a Man". Steve at keyboards . The 2 lady singers take front
stage . I have a bit of an aversion to funky lady singers - it all too often shows
the  deterioration of a Rock hero , who no longer can hit the notes , as a result
of age , excesses , or the lack of studio tricks . I am a Robert Plant addict , but
must say that his voice has never returned to the glories of Led Zeppelin 1969
ish . Steve opens his mouth and - the voice is still there!! He has clearly saved it
well and the distinctive sound washes over me. The rhythm section lays down a
heavy beat and I am teleported back in time......

A brief pause , much applause and then "Rill with it" . Slightly funkier ( a word
that oft comes to mind this evening..) but crystal clear and the band clearly
enjoying the evening.

Brief pause again and into Freedom Overspill . This is not one of my most
loved songs , but played well and the technical quality of the playing is fine .
The audience are enjoying it . There are , I guess 1000-1500 of us and there is a
nice intimate feel to the night , the smaller venue probably suits Steve's
understated style well and the acoustics of a tighter venue must help. He
finishes the song , mentions that it is a while since he last played Cambridge
and tells us that they will play some old songs and some new songs -- just as
he has done on nearly every show and bootleg that I have - we shall see.

Spy in the house of Love - well , I knew the title , if nothing else. Having heard
some , em , mixed reviews of the album I was expecting the worst - a disco
/reggae/dance obscenity. Just shows how wrong you can be.... Nice snappy beat
, well executed and as Steve switches to guitar , I can't help but think what a
terribly under-rated guitarist he is - crisp , economic playing with great
technique . I remember when I saw Traffic in 94 and they opened with "Pearly
Queen" , just how impressed I was - will he play some Traffic tonight ....? A
guitar solo - very Layla-esque and I mentally drool..

The next of the new songs - something like , "Don't let them stop us(?)". Well ,
it sounded OK , but I really was in Traffic nostalgia mode and watching , rather
than listening . Steve clearly relaxed and enjoying the show.

A calypso number followed , with Steve taking the mike and some samba type
sounds. At this stage a young lady in front of me started singing , swaying and
dancing , but well in time with the music and clearly familiar with the track .
Unlike many "dancers" she was also following the rhythm well . The impassive
couple next to me stare on , as if they are at the Cinema , following the main
feature - are they enjoying it?? I enjoyed the track , put me in mind of the
Carnival atmosphere seen at Brazilian football matches!!

Then one of the funky lady vocalists joins Steve in a duet ("Plenty loving?").
Well ,OK , but I'm not sure that ballads are his forte...

The band disappears and Steve on acoustic guitar plays and sings a very gentle
, haunting "Can't find my way home" . The voice is a shade thin on occasions ,
but this just adds to the haunting , gentle and quietly emotional feel . In my
prejudiced , aging way , I found this much fresher than some of the new stuff
and still , after all the times I have heard this , it still moves me...

The band rejoins , a couple of notes and the whoop from the audience signals
the start of "Low Spark" .And what a version , with some new and fresh
playing. After a couple of slight stumbles , Steve lays down that slightly
ethereal piano and then supports the percussion , the sounds wash over me and
I slowly rock my head , following the master's route. The track seems to come
to an end , but the trumpeter then plays a bluesy solo and suddenly it's a hot
night in a smoky street , somewhere in Harlem and we're miles away from
rainy England. The solo comes to an end and then the band kicks in with the
finale.

Straight into Glad and this cooks! The dancer in front of me is lost in the
music, but still following the beat - clearly she is au fait with much of the
Winwood canon. The changes still ring in with a drum solo (/!), she gallantly
still dances to this.

The singers return , I glance at the watch .nearly 10pm , oh well , good while it
lasted. Family affair - Sly and the Family stone? A workmanlike effort and
dancing continues with gusto .

Then something else off the new album , with the band all being introduced to
do their solos in best Jazz tradition - with the singers linking with "play that
funky music". Good to hear /see McEvoy and Bramblett again in the engine
room .The drummer lets rip into a relatively tuneful solo , reminding me of my
theory that drummers are the descendants of the Viking Berserkers.

Higher love - we're all singing along and the track is lively , musical and full of
zest. He thanks us , the band leave the stage and we shout and scream for more.
This was never going to be a sweaty , orgasmic , mind altering show , but still
full of life , the love of life and some superb musicianship. Steve returns to the
stage , thanks us for being a great audience and says it has been great to play
for us and , do you know , I don't believe he says that to all the audiences and I
believe him!!!

The first Encore is Back in the High Life and the mandolin is so precise. The
band leave the stage , leaving the Conga and the Drummer, who lay down a
great pattern and I find myself clapping and whooping with the rest and I hate
drum solos...!!! A drum solo/duet as an encore ? Original , but better educated
playing than the "bash" we all too often have to endure from drummers and
a novel idea. The girl stops dancing , looks wistful and puts on her coat . I want
to stop her and tell her that Gimme Some Lovin will follow and she still has
something to dance to. My English reserve gets the better of me , but I start to
think about the analogy in life of missing the great encore by giving us too
soon.....

The Band come back on stage. How can Gimme Some Lovin' still be enjoyable
for Steve and us after all these years and all those plays?? Still it does and we're
all up bopping in the gangways and the evening draws to a suitably sweaty
bouncy end.

Back to the car , where the radio is mentioning that the Glastonbury concert is
the only one where the bands are announced after the tickets are sold . Also
mentions that Steve is playing there on Sunday - he's not too old and the lucky
audience will get at least some sunshine that weekend and the younger , fitter
generation who don't need balcony seats will get to hear his distinctive sound.
He should be and will be there! And for those of us , who , like me are mixed
about his new release a reminder that he has moved with the times and whilst
his roots are firmly in R&B , Blind Faith and Traffic , he has the musicality
and the originality to move on and do something different , which , in years to
come will be a part of the repertoire alongside the "classics" that we love.

I gather he is back to the States next? Catch him if you can!!

Gary

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END OF SMILING PHASES, VOL 86