Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Decorating the Concert Closet for the Holidays

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noel, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Boxing Day, and of course a most boisterious "Festivus for the Rest of Us" fellow progheads!  As you can tell, I am all inclusive here as "Holiday Season 2016" plays out.  And as my loyal followers most assuredly remember, I am loathe to write a post ranking the best artists/songs/bands/blah blah blah of the year...



Lists are subjective and I usually hear someone complain about a great band or song being left off the list while some blithering noise or talentless hack has been incredulously added to the list.  The search for all things prog searches out the finest progressive rock music I believe is worth listening to and bands/artists worthy of your support. The prog garden is alive and well and fertile breeding ground for standard bearers and new comers alike.  I encourage you my fellow progheads to support those you find laudable and to continue meandering the garden in search of others.  With that in mind, I present the annual Closet Concert Arena Holiday Music post...please to enjoy...

Since it is impossible to avoid the elephant in the room I will walk right up and twist its trunk...2016 was a tough year for musicians and fans alike.  The prog garden was not immune to the Grim Reaper's scythe as David Bowie, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and others passed through the veil. However; I choose to celebrate the memories and music of these and other prog giants as 2016 lowers the curtain for the final time, so let us rejoice and play loud some holiday cheer...

The opener this year is a Keith Emerson rendition of "Silent Night."  This song is one of my personal holiday favorites and Keith does it justice.  Ever the showman--and always able to back up the bravado--Keith kept a low profile here.  Not to say the keyboards were hidden or muffled; they just laid down a festive carpet for the vocals and soft percussion to elegantly glide across...



Next up on the holiday buffet is a cut from Chris Squire's Swiss Choir, "Three Kings."  Another master humbly placing music before self as this song flows smooth and gentle through the headphones, much like melted chocolate cascading down the sides of a New York style cheesecake...yes please!  The backing choir bring an elegance to the entire piece as delicate keyboards move through the center and waft into your auditory canals...

                                     


One more slice from this holiday feast comes from the Moody Blues; "The Spirit of Christmas."  This is a band that seems to generate extreme emotion on both ends of the metronome; people either love 'em or hate 'em.  I tend to love 'em I guess, since I don't hate 'em.  This song pours out like a fine brandy...keyboards cascading with silky smooth vocals, all wrapped up with gentle acoustic guitar as the vocal master John Lodge brings it home...



This next song is simply an homage to Mr. Bowie...David was many things; artist, singer, musician, actor, chameleon, genius...I can hear the arguments against inclusion of this song already; hence my inclination to avoid best of lists and greatest of all time collections.  David Bowie was a visionary and true trail blazer, not only in the prog garden but many other art forms as well.  He will truly be missed, and one more tip of the hat surely won't hurt...



The final decoration to adorn the Concert Closet this year is Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas."  This is one of my favorite songs for the holidays, and I chose this version so as to highlight Greg's vocal and guitar skills.  The acoustic opening clears a path traipsed heavily with strong vocals and drums that leave no room for indecisiveness.  The upbeat mood bellows, and--this year especially--the prog garden  cannot have too much upbeat and happy...



...and that is a wrap fellow progheads, as the curtain is drawn for the final time on 2016!  The swansong has faded to black...the fat lady has sung...and thus begins anticipation for the search for all things prog 2017!

I would like to sincerely thank everyone for coming back week after week to see and hear what the Concert Closet has to offer.  This journey is truly a fun ride and it is an honor to captain this ship...something I assure you I do not take for granted.

The prog garden produced a great crop this year; interviews with up and comers and stalwarts, new bands, new releases, bands that have been pouring it out for decades, artists that bleed prog...I have been astounded, impressed, surprised (pleasantly), educated, and humbled by what I have learned. The prog garden is so much more than music--it is a living breathing thing, and it continues to grow and thrive.

Of course without you my loyal followers I would not be on this astonishing journey.  The search for all things prog is made that much more enjoyable by the feedback I receive weekly from you.  I sincerely wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.  Celebrate any way you see fit--just make damn sure you make it back in 2017...

The Concert Closet will be grounded for a short while as I add some much needed upgrades.  2017 promises to be even bigger and better than previous years, with many surprises, changes, and improvements.  Lots happening; much of which is still in the design and construction stages. However, when January arrives I believe you will like what you find.  Please join me on January 17th, 2017 as The Closet Concert Arena 2.0 is unveiled.

Thanks again fellow progheads, and a safe and happy holiday season to all...until next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment