Had a bad hearing aid day but I have to say that the Brad Mehldau solo concert yesterday at Melba Hall was fucking brilliant. I was totally expecting him to deconstruct 90s something classics but he stuck to the Great American Songbook with an original, his obligatory Beatles track and some Neil Young song I've never head of. His final encore was a deconstruction of Pinball Wizard and the woman next to me, who was bored out of her brain and fidgeted the whole time and kept sneaking looks at her phone, the idiot!, looked quizzically at her partner when he woo hooed out loud at recognising the riff. He gave her that look of condensation and whispered "Elton John". FMD, I kid you not, they deserve one another. Thank God Keith Moon wasn't next to them, could have been ugly.
I'm not quite sure what it is that Mehldau does, I'm not a muso, but I was in the second row and his hands are a sight to behold. He definitely has ditched the chordal claw left hand cliche, using it instead to construct complex rhythmically driven lines that provide melodic counterpoint? to the usual dominant right, which often had to assume the left's role, when the left took over the lead. At times he turned the single Steinway, that's the only piano Mehldau plays, into a veritable orchestra...with church bell chiming to boot. Fuck, I can't even coordinate my hands to type so I've no hope of describing what it is that he does.
P.S. Melbourne Uni's Melba Hall might look quaint and pretty but I can now tell you from experience to avoid the front seats, the sound might be great up back but it surfs over the front rows and I wish I hadn't prerung them to trot out my hearing impaired spiel, it was a general seating affair, for the reserved seat for the hearing disabled. The guy told me it was the best seat in the house when I arrived fashionably late, but he was very wrong. Still even with sound issues it was just soooo good.
He didn't play this but feast your eyes on the left hand!