One of the truly fun elements of our biz, is offering our services to various concert venues. We set up a few Singer Sewing Machine tables,(look for British Phone Booths near New Years) run some wire and badda bing badda boom, insta-headphone stations. Folks get to listen to the performing act in a relatively high-end format. Watching their faces wake-up and smile is a lot of fun. Those of us long immersed in the hobby forget how struck we were upon first hearing sound that possessed the full vitality and beauty of music. I also get a kick out of watching them listen to Hi Rez on the Astel and Kern 120 player into a fine pair of IEM's. Then I take out the little credit card micro sd holder from my wallet and tell them I have a near terabyte of music in my pocket. In a city, how much fun is that...I can hop a bus or a flight, and still have music for every desire or situation. (you can always buy underwear if you skip town-a terabyte of your favorite tunes is a bit more involved.)
We don't sell any hardware at these events...we do have cards out should people have an interest. Still, a certain number of people are impressed enough that they solicit us. The one constant, (and perhaps predictable), subset of the population that shows an interest is the musicians. So far there have been sales to a member of every band we've worked. It's also a nice tip of the hat, given that they buy with their ears, generally having no background in audiophilia whatsoever.
Madeleine Peyroux's concert was fantastic. She had a string quartet in addition to her rhythm section. Her new creation, The Blue Room, is true to its name. Madeleine is like a cat playing with her ball of yarn. A ball of yarn called melancholia. The tender and the terse, get equal straight shots, lacking just enough sentimentality to make them believable. The band was tight and right in the pocket. After the gig we hung out in the green room. Green rooms can vary greatly in terms of comfort. My parents were musicians. I learned quite early; do what you have to, go with the flow, and keep your skin as thick as need be. I went back to thank Sue Auclair, the publicist and friend who helped me in the endeavor, and to thank Fred Taylor who booked the gig.
It was a lovely bonus that Madeleine was as soulful, beautiful, and down to earth as her songs imagine her to be. And, as providence divined, we're to marry in June. (made you look) No, I fear things went no further than food and drink and a few laughs. Still a superlative evening the likes of which won't leave my memory too soon. Or as Nat Cole put it, 'when I grow too old to dream, I'll have her to remember.'
If you haven't heard her new album, give it a listen. Madeleine is nearing the midpoint of what will be a most entertaining career, and the last chapter gives us some new shades.
For gear, we had the Coffman Labs G1-A full function tube preamp with a built in headphone section. It was being fed via a Metrum Octave MK2. We were sporting cans from HiFiMAN (modified HE-500s) and Mr. Speakers (the balanced Mad Dogs). Adjacent was the beautifully lit Burson Conductor.(the demo units have a plexi top and LEDs inside to light up the glory that is Burson's design.
(Mark Jacob, my skipper and an all-around wonderful human being.)
On table deux was an Astel and Kern AK120, and an AK100. They were feeding a pair of HiFiMan RE-600s and RE-400s respectively. Smiles abound.
Helping out was Kristen Dye, a monster flautist, and a real sport as my regular staff called in, and Kristen saved the day.
Kristen, who saved the day. I didn't have a shot of her, save for this one...in the crate that once held the Boenicke SLS2s.