20 March 2006
Keith Jarrett "Solo Piano"
After 20 years of absence, Keith Jarrett came back to perform in San Francisco. We were there, at the War Memorial Opera House, Sunday March 19.
Having grown up listening to the "The Koln Concert" (1975), shaping our mood, we were expecting a very touching, passionate and maybe even bothering experience. Well, it was different. The first half of the show, one hour straight, was - noticing all the people who fell asleep - boring. The show-man had totally dimmed the music. It was all about Jarrett, his piano was in second position.
After the break, hopefully, he came back and played with more sentiment, even if it was still far far away from the Koln experience. 45 minutes of beautiful music, not extremely touching, but still amazing.
Then the standing ovation. He went away. We applauded, applauded and applauded and he came back, made a joke on the fact that this is a little trick to keep people awake (maybe he heard the snoring of the first half?) One tune, beautiful. He went away again. We applauded and applauded all standing. And he came back, again. Another joke on his bad temper ("To stick to my bad reputation I should complain about something... What about the Government?" and the San Francisco audience of course made an ovation of happiness mixed with laughter). One short tune, nice. And gone again.
At that point many people had left the theatre, but a good part of the audience was still applauding, standing. We didn't give up, and he came back. Then he played for himself and the real fans. And it was AMAZING. The third bis he played, was what we had been waiting all night. Was the prize, the candy for music lovers. Beautiful, long, touching. Great.
Then of course he went away. We didn't give up and still applauded and applauded. The theater was still dark, but we weren't sure of a fourth bis... But, yes, he came back again! He played "As Time Goes By", we cheered, he was great. Took the last applause and went away definitely, after 2 hours and 20 minutes of music.
This was a magic, once-in-a-lifetime experience.