Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Eternal Life - The Annual NYC Tribute to Jeff Buckley





Jeff Buckley’s spirit was definitely hovering around Arlene’s Grocery for his Annual Tribute concert but together by Robert Urban. Each year I am both astonished and selfish about the growth of Jeff’s fan base. On the verge of  what would have been Jeff’s 49th birthday, I met a 22 year old drummer from the UK who discovered Jeff only four years ago. He, like most of us, quickly fell in love with Jeff.


There were new faces that sang the songs Jeff wrote as well as songs both by musicians who inspired him and musicians he inspired. The early highlights include Adam Cohen, Edwin Blas with Cesar Presa, and Matt DeBenedetti of Toy Cars. From Hallelujah to Radiohead’s High and Dry, the night kicked off with some great music fit for Jeff.

Now if people weren’t already moved when French musician Michael DeFleur hit the stage after being in New York City while his country was tragically attacked last week, he finished with a song that a handful understood. Jeff Buckley’s Eternal Life on the Live at Sin-é opened with the following monologue:  
This is a song about, it's an angry song. Life is too short and too complicated for people behind desks and people behind masks to be ruining other people’s lives, initiating force against other people’s lives on the basis of their income, their color, their class, their religious beliefs, their whatever.
But Michael did not recite that … he only sang the following before leaving the stage and it was a statement so raw that it was hauntingly beautifully framed because it was Jeff’s words:


There's no time for hatred, only questions
Where is love, where is happiness, what is Life,
where is peace?


And what’s a Jeff Buckley Tribute without a cabaret? Honestly, one of the most beautiful moments was Tracey Stark, Kathleen Stuart, Gretchen Reinhagen and Beau Howard singing a beautiful and soul filled rendition of Hallelujah. It’s moments like those that make the annual tribute so special. And more moments were promised as Robert Urban joined the Jenny’s and Mike Linkens almost the most Buckley-esque performance of the evening … almost.

Gary Lucas, guitar master, a mentee of Captain Beefheart, song writer, and co-writer with Jeff himself...broke a guitar string when he started to play Mojo Pin with Tara Lynne. 
video
 But meanwhile as the guitar was re-strung, Mike Linkens joined Gary after a masterful acoustic solo. It was as if Jeff walked onto the stage and we were taken back to the days of Gods and Monsters. A snapshot in time given to us as gift to the Buckley faithful. See you all again for Jeff's 50th birthday next year.

Eternal Life is now on my trail
Got my red glitter coffin, man, just need one last nail
While all these ugly gentlemen play out their foolish games
there's a flaming red horizon that screams our names
And as your fantasies are broken in two
Did you really think this bloody road
would pave the way for you?
You better turn around
and blow your kiss hello to life eternal, angel
Racist every man, what have you done?
Man, you've made a killer of your unborn son...
Crown my fear your king at the point of a gun
All I want to do is love everyone...
And as your fantasies are broken in two
did you really think this bloody road
would pave the way for you?
You better turn around
and blow your kiss hello to life eternal
Oh...
There's no time for hatred, only questions
Where is love, where is happiness, what is Life,
where is peace?
When will I find the strength to bring me release?
And tell me where is the love in what your prophet has said?
Man, It sounds to me just like a prison for the walking dead
And I've got a message for you and your twisted hell
You better turn around and blow your kiss goodbye
to life eternal angel...
Angel...


 


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