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Thread: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

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    Registered User Ken_P's Avatar
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    Default Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    I was lucky enough to get to see Chris Thile in the ~250 seat Weill Recital Hall last night where he performed for about an hour and a half totally totally solo. Here's the set list, which I was able to get a picture of from the stage:

    Attaboy
    Silver Dagger
    True Love Waits (Radiohead)
    Corrente (Bach Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004)
    This is the Song (listed as Balboa on his set list, not sure why)
    Ookpik Waltz
    New Piece in three movements
    Jessamyn's Reel
    Rabbit in a Log
    Sarabanda (Bach Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004)
    Another New World
    Raining at Sunset (by audience request)
    Giga (Bach Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004)
    Here and Heaven

    Encore: Doubting Thomas

    Chris was fantastic, of course. He was clearly having a great time and the audience was very much into it. I'd say there was a good mix of hardcore fans (like me) and regular subscribers who didn't necessarily know what they were going to see. His playing, I think keeps getting better and better. Not necessarily faster, I don't know how much faster you could go, but in terms of variety of tone and expression, I don't think he's ever sounded so good. The command is what really impressed me. Several times during the show he would be playing something incredibly fast and complex and then out of nowhere drop into a completely different mood and texture without warning. It was very effective in a musical sense and tremendously impressive technically.

    One potentially controversial opinion, I'm still not sure I'm that impressed with the Loar. Sure it sounded great but part of me still prefers the tone he got out of the Dude that he played for so many years. This being a tiny hall, he played completely acoustic, no amplification at all (and I was sitting very close to the stage) so I really got to hear it as well as I'll ever be able to and while he sounded great, I didn't get the impression that the instrument is all that special.

    Some musical standouts that I can remember include the transition from both the Corrente and the Sarabanda into songs of his - all were in D minor, which helps but I found those to be very effective, particularly from the Sarabande into Another New World. Anybody who has seen Punch Brothers in recent years will know how much of a crowd favorite that one is, and it's somehow no less effective solo. The really striking part about it, to me, was that he started the first line of Another New World ("Leading lights of the age...") over the last few notes of the Sarabande, essentially replacing the intro of that song with the end of the Bach.

    I'll have to hear the new piece a few more times before I can say much about it. I can compare it to The Blind Leaving the Blind in structure, but not content, in that the three movements go through what seem to be a few different song ideas each weaving in and out of instrumental sections that bind the piece together.

    One final part that was really fun for me is that somewhere early in the show (I think during True Love Waits), Chris' pick broke in half right in the middle of the song. Naturally, he finished with his fingers as if nothing had happened but the front third of the pick (I think the point that was actually hitting the strings) flew onto the front of the stage and was left there for the rest of the show and when he left the stage for the last time, I walked up and grabbed it. I know there was some discussion a while back about what kind of pick he's using these days so from examining it on my desk in front of me, I can tell you it's definitely some kind of faux tortoise. There's nothing on it to identify it more precisely than that. It apparently had holes drilled in it because I can see part of one where it broke off. It has what I would consider a pretty standard bevel and is comparable in thickness to my Bluechip CT 55 which would put it at 1.3 or 1.4 mm.

    This part is doubly funny to me because the last time I was in Weill Hall, I was there to see Avi Avital, who also dropped a pick on stage that I retrieved after he was done with it. I should go there more often.

    All in all, it was a fantastic evening and while I'd say don't miss him if you get the chance, I'm not sure if there will be another chance to see him like this in a solo acoustic setting. I'm just glad I was able to be there for it when it happened.

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Wow, that would have been fun. I love that performance space. Thanks for posting
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    Registered User bluegrasser78's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    I'd love to see that performance! My uncle played there on his Loar with Bromberg in the early 80's, for some reason the cd says live in NYC but its Carnegie Hall.

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    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrasser78 View Post
    for some reason the cd says live in NYC but its Carnegie Hall.
    Is not Carnegie Hall in NYC?

    Been about 5 years since I've seen Thile solo live, dang used to be about once a year or so at Largo.

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Does Chris live in NYC? The Prarie Home Companion is in St. Paul. I suppose he commutes for the show.

    The Dude was my favorite mandolin too. But each has it's strengths and mojo.

    As for the pick collection, is Mike Marshall next? ha, ha.

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    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    The NY Times's critic had a good time, too:

    https://www-nytimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/arts/music/review-chris-thile-carnegie-hall.amp.html?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1#referrer=https %3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&amp share=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2018%2F11%2F 29%2Farts%2Fmusic%2Freview-chris-thile-carnegie-hall.html

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_P View Post
    I was lucky enough to get to see Chris Thile in the ~250 seat Weill Recital Hall last night where he performed for about an hour and a half totally totally solo. Here's the set list, which I was able to get a picture of from the stage:

    Attaboy
    Silver Dagger
    True Love Waits (Radiohead)
    Corrente (Bach Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004)
    This is the Song (listed as Balboa on his set list, not sure why)
    Ookpik Waltz
    New Piece in three movements
    Jessamyn's Reel
    Rabbit in a Log
    Sarabanda (Bach Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004)
    Another New World
    Raining at Sunset (by audience request)
    Giga (Bach Partita no. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004)
    Here and Heaven

    Encore: Doubting Thomas
    Just curious: fourteen songs in 90 minutes? Does he take extended solos, or talk a lot between songs? Does he sing lyrics?

    In a 45-50 minute set with a trio, I can easily play 13-14 songs which includes lyrics and solos.
    "Those who know don't have the words to tell, and the ones with the words don't know so well." - Bruce Cockburn

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    I saw the first show from the fifth row and some of the second (I had to catch a train home) from the balcony.

    Humbling. Just humbling.

    I had been a doubter at first (years ago) but I am a true believer now. In addition to his skills—impossibly—developing even more, he has gained heart. His mix of sheer talent, hard work, humor and vision is remarkable.

    He is much more than a mandolinist. He may be the truest musician I've ever seen, and I've been writing about this stuff professionally for over 30 years.

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    Registered User Ken_P's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by Teak View Post
    Just curious: fourteen songs in 90 minutes? Does he take extended solos, or talk a lot between songs? Does he sing lyrics?
    Keep in mind that one of the "songs" listed is in 3 movements and ran at least fifteen minutes by itself. Some of the other songs did feature extended solos, yes, and Another New World is probably is six or seven minutes by itself as well. I very much doubt anyone there felt he didn't make excellent use of his (and our) time.

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    From Ken_P - "...still prefer the tone he got out of the Dude ..". Many folk,including myself have expressed the same thought.
    I suppose that for us, 'the listeners',we have to put our personal preferences aside & simply accept the music,played on ''whatever'',
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by jefflester View Post
    Is not Carnegie Hall in NYC?

    Been about 5 years since I've seen Thile solo live, dang used to be about once a year or so at Largo.
    Thanks! Where the heck did I get Carnegie Hall from? Nuts!

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    Registered User desaljs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Thanks for this interesting post. He is a true talent, and I enjoy the fact that he constantly plays out.

    Jim D
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Eck View Post
    .

    He is much more than a mandolinist. He may be the truest musician I've ever seen, and I've been writing about this stuff professionally for over 30 years.
    I'd have to agree Michael. I don't know of any other musician who is so versatile and well rounded. I've seen some of the true greats in the classical world,like Segovia,Yo-Yo-Ma,Isaac Stern,and Chris is right up there with them.

    I saw Thile solo in Albany NY when the Bach album came out (I think I saw Michael in the crowd) and was blown away. To satisfyingly fill a whole concert with a little solo instrument is pretty amazing.
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    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrasser78 View Post
    I'd love to see that performance! My uncle played there on his Loar with Bromberg in the early 80's, for some reason the cd says live in NYC but its Carnegie Hall.
    I have that CD. It's because Bromberg put it out himself. If you look at the CD, it's actually a CDR. Just like one you would use at home.

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    That Albany solo show was a stunner, Paul!

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom C View Post
    I have that CD. It's because Bromberg put it out himself. If you look at the CD, it's actually a CDR. Just like one you would use at home.
    OH now I understand why! Always wondered why they couldn't/didn't use the Carnegie Hall name! I had a copy of that performance on cd years before Bromberg issued it I got from Uncle Gene Johnson.

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    in answer to a question above, Thile lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

    Nice photo and caption for the NYT story:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Thile NYT.jpeg 
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ID:	173028
    Last edited by BradKlein; Nov-30-2018 at 12:21pm.
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    By the way, loved this window into a sensitive musically educated reviewer grappling with the bluegrass tradition:

    Without printed lyrics, it was sometimes hard to make out the words Mr. Thile was singing. It didn’t seem to matter much in some of the bluegrass numbers, which raced by in a delirious gallop with snippets of text — was he really singing about a chicken on his back? — flashing past.
    I personally learned that line from Feast Here Tonight as "goin' down the track with my coat split up my back..." But the Daves/Thile duo was very committed to the chicken from the start...
    BradKlein
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    Registered User jefflester's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    in answer to a question above, Thile lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.
    I thought they lived in Portland. But after Grimm ended guess maybe they didn't really have much of a reason to stay there, other than it's a nice place.

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_P View Post
    I was lucky enough to get to see Chris Thile in the ~250 seat Weill Recital Hall last night where he performed for about an hour and a half totally totally solo. Here's the set list, which I was able to get a picture of from the stage:
    ...
    New Piece in three movements
    ...
    I'll have to hear the new piece a few more times before I can say much about it. I can compare it to The Blind Leaving the Blind in structure, but not content, in that the three movements go through what seem to be a few different song ideas each weaving in and out of instrumental sections that bind the piece together.
    Part 1 became Song of the week at LFH, with an introduction:

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    Default Re: Chris Thile at Carnegie Hall 11/28/18

    No one can doubt the technical mastery of that video, particularly the impressive stamina to keep up the rhythm with the right hand, but I have to say this song left me cold.

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