In the afternoon of July 11th the Dutch rock legend Herman Brood decided to end his life by jumping off the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. It’s a question whether that was the reason for the slightly disappointing in store for Larry and Luke at the Fame music store later that afternoon. Only a few people took the trouble to have their copy of No substitutions signed by Larry and Luke and have a little chat.
In the evening on the other hand Paradiso was crowded with various music lovers who wanted to create an atmosphere of open minds and open ears. Lots of Carlton, Lukather, Toto and No substitutions fans were anxious to know what this special combination, supported by Chris Kent (bass), Rick Jackson (keys) and Gary Ferguson (drums, replacing Gregg Bissonette who is working with Jeff Lynne on the ELO Zoom tour) was all about. The day before Larry and Luke stated that they decided to do two shows on one evening to service 2 x 600 interested fans because the tight tour schedule didn’t made it possible for them to stay more than one concert day in Holland.
During the evening it became obvious that they played the same set list two times (with a different crowd) in two pretty different shows. The set list with seven song titles (The pump, Blues 4orce from the Fourplay album yes, please!, Only yesterday, Red house, Don’t give it up, Room 335 and the Joe Sample encore Put it where you wan’t it turned out to be a kind of framework for musical improvisations, challenges, lessons, scouting, dynamics and surprises. Within this framework there was plenty of space for funny (Mary had a little lamb), subtle (Third stone from the sun) or raging (Smell yourself) intermezzos, raging bass and drum solos (in Don’t give it up) and having a party, especially in the funky encore Put it where you want it. After all Larry and Luke as well as the other musicians developed through the years an unbelievable huge “database” of licks, melodies, chords and techniques that make them play everything they want at any moment.
Both shows in Paradiso made this one clear: the quintessence of a Carlton/Lukather concert is all about love for music, love and respect for each other, mutual learning, longing for unexpected turns, crossing borders, musical meditation, fun and having a great party. It’s quite an experience to notice a completely quiet audience during the subtle improvisations of Larry at one moment and an awesome exited crowd a couple of minutes later having a great party whipped up and encouraged by Luke. Obviously a Carlton/Lukather show in 2001 is quite different from the shows in Japan (and the one on No substitutions) three years ago, because Larry and Luke are constantly reaching out for a higher level of musical challenge and perfection. Let’s hope they got the power of endurance to go on challenging each other and their fans.
SteveLukather.com, July 14 2001