It was during his first encore, a long solo piece incorporating various tunes from his vast catalogue, when he set an exclamation mark after one of his signature tunes, “This Is Not America”, and proved that it is currently at least as valid as back in 1985 when it was originally released.
For over two hours at Berlin’s Admiralspalast, guitar meister Pat Metheny focused mainly on older material last night and not promoting a new album or new project. His new interpretations of tracks from his 1989 “Letter From Home” album were done sans the Brazilian-themed motives of the originals, and usually played in a much faster tempo. His current group features some brilliant musicians: the duo take on the 1990 piece “Question And Answer” from the album of the same name (and recorded with Dave Holland and Roy Haynes) had Pat exchanging ideas and thoughts with the amazing drummer Antonio Sanchez. Antonio’s solo work usually echoed a full band and had me thinking about Tony Williams more than once.
Bassist Linda May Han Oh who was inspired by Metheny’s early 90s work, blends beautifully into the repertoire, as does pianist Gwilym Simcock. Both excel with their virtuosity and underscore the brilliant work of their leader and bringing in their own pretty cool and fascinating work. Entering the stage for the opening with his custom-made 42-string guitar clone, it was usually on slower pieces where Pat grabbed me most. The fast and furious, screeching and noisy and typically deconstructive and rock-induced work that we’re also used to on tracks like “Are We There Yet?” had its share, too.
How he manages to look so young at 63 in his now almost famous shirt and jeans, remains a mystery. The tour continues in Hamburg tonight and continues in Poland, Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Ireland, and Iceland (last stop November 17th in Reykjavik).