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Hitting all the right notes

Steve Crawford

We were about a half-hour late starting because of sound system problems, and St Andrew’s Church was about 60 per cent full.

Steve Crawford and La Tannia Ellerbe took the first half on Saturday night; on classical guitar and on violin respectively.

They proceeded to give us something completely unexpected, a new experience for us all.

They played a well-thought-out selection of classic New Wave rock songs and ballads that, while maybe subliminally familiar to us all, we had never heard in a concert setting before, especially with their instrumentation. It was marvellous.

Guitar and violin blended together perfectly in sensitive, expert playing from these classically trained, technically perfect musicians.

They worked their way into the underlying emotional vocabulary of this music and then reinvented it in front of us in an unhurried, almost ceilidh-like manner.

Shelton Bean added the sound of the African Djembe to round out the instrumentation.

The numbers themselves — The Police’s Every Breath You Take, Livgren’s Dust in the Wind or Bowie and Queen’s Under Pressure — were all mega commercial hits in their day and became transformed into individual, powerful emotive and evocative statements.

Crawford and Ellerbe were persuaded by our crashing applause to return for an encore.

They chose Oasis’s 1995 hit, Wonderwall because, as Ellerbe put it, Oasis was primarily based in Manchester and given the tragedy that happened there last week, it seemed a fitting tribute:

And all the roads we have to walk are winding

And all the lights that lead us there are blinding

There are many things that I

Would like to say to you but I don’t know how

Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me

And after all, you’re my wonderwall

It was a pleasure to welcome back the unique guitar stylist Mike Dawes for the second half of the concert.

This is his second performance in Bermuda, the first being two years ago.

I wrote then of his incredible technique, his humour and musical originality.

This 2017 concert was a clone of that one, with no changes almost down to the last riff, the last joke, the last off-the-cuff remark. There was a new number, a very good one: Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer.

But to paraphrase Karl Marx, the exact same thing second time around, however awesome the first time around, is somehow diminished. A pity. Perhaps Dawes needs more time to build repertory. His second album is due out in August of this year packed with new material. I look forward to listening.