It ain't Pink Floyd, but you might see God anyway

July 15, 2010


Sky White Tiger
 

As a rock obsessive growing up just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, it was a right of passage at a certain age to venture to the Hayden Planetarium to experience the wonders of Laserium. The light show was paired with the sounds of several different classic rock bands on alternating weekends, including the Who, Led Zeppelin, and the Doors, and my rock-critic hero Lester Bangs wrote "I Saw God and/or Tangerine Dream" after his own Laserium experience. But Pink Floyd was of course the ultimate soundtrack, and I do believe I'm still missing some brain cells from the many nights I spent with that band and those lights in that celestial auditorium.

Anyway, it’s been nearly 30 years since I saw a great rock show at a planetarium, but Chicago’s own Adler is offering the chance not once but twice this evening at 7 and 8:45 p.m. as part of its “Adler After Dark” series when it presents Brooklyn’s Sky White Tiger in live performance and the Windy City’s own psychedelic guru DJ Plastic Crimewave, a.k.a. Steve Krakow, spinning spaced-out, otherworldy sounds as only he can.

Led by Louis Schwadron, one of many veterans of the Texas orchestral pop band the Polyphonic Spree, Sky White Tiger delivers blissful trance-out music inspired by works of astrological mythology. Its stated aim: “To embed and amplify the mobile art form of live music into the planetarium setting by utilizing video dome projections, constellation-based imagery, and light-based costume design.” Or, in other words, to help you trip like a wildebeest, with or without external stimulants, and the sounds do kinda, sorta remind me of instrumental Floyd circa “Obscured by Clouds.”

Tickets are $7 for members, $10 for non-members, and they can be purchased online. While you’re at the Adler, the Doane Observatory will be open for tours without tickets from 6:30 to 8:30, though it won’t be dark yet; from 8:45 to 9:45 p.m., ticketed tours will be available for 20 people at a time on a first-come first-served basis. More info can be found here.

And speaking of Pink Floyd…

As if they weren’t already excited enough at the prospect of Roger Waters performing “The Wall” for four nights at the United Center in September–albeit under the egregious terms of Ticketmaster/Live Nation–the local network of Floyd superfans is over the dark side of the moon at the news that the infamously feuding auteur Waters and guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour buried the careful with that axe, Eugene long enough to join together to play “Wish You Were Here” at the recent Hoping Foundation charity event in London. Now, it seems as if Gilmour might drop by one of Waters’ “Wall” shows, though he’s keeping which one a surprise. And all of this leads once again to hoping for the inevitable reunion tour–though in my opinion, it never could be as swell as it would have been before the death of keyboardist Rick Wright.

In any event, proving that absolutely everybody has a Facebook page these days, here is Waters writing about the whole thing on his:

 

The gig with David
So here's what happened. Last year, 'The Hoping Foundation' a charity that supports Palestinian refugee kids, (www.hopingfoundation.org) put on a fund raiser at Ronnie Scott's Club in London, the idea of which was to raise money by auctioning karaoke performances by various celebrities. David was there as a supporter and was moved to perform an impromptu rendition of George Gershwin's 'Summertime?' which he performed aided and abetted by supermodel Kate Moss.
In the wake of that evening, someone, I think it was David himself, came up with this 'Wouldn't it be funny', idea. What if he (David that is) were to sing the old Teddy Bears song 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' with me (Roger that is), what with us having been so famously at each other's throats for years and years. Get it!!!! Anyway he E-mailed me with this suggestion and I loved it, so then it was just a question of juggling dates and deciding to do 'Wish You Were Here' and 'Comfortably Numb' to round out our little set. Or so I thought, until he sent me a number of very musical and eloquent demos of how we could do the song in two-part harmony. I listened with a sinking heart, knowing that David, with his superior vocal skills, could sing either part standing on his head, whilst I would have to search for a different key and then struggle through hours and hours of routining a performance that lay way outside my vocal comfort zone. To my eternal shame I bottled out and told Dave I would happily do 'Wish You Were Here' and 'C. Numb', but that 'To Know him is to Love him' was beyond me. Some weeks passed with David cajoling me from time to time, telling me how easy it would be, but I clung resolutely to my fear of failure until one day he made one final entreaty. I quote "If you do 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' for The Hoping Foundation Gig, I'll come and do 'C. Numb' on one of your Wall shows". Well! You could have knocked me down with a feather. How fucking cool! I was blown away. How could I refuse such an offer. I couldn't, there was no way. Generosity trumped fear. And so explaining that I would probably be shite, but if he didn't mind I didn't, I agreed and the rest is history. We did it, and it was fucking great. End of story. Or possibly beginning. Roger PS. Just heard from David, he will decide in due course which gig he wants to do, it will be a surprise!