Al Di Meola Brings his Acoustic Trio to Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts

Al Di Meola playing Acoustic Guitar

Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts
Date: Sunday September 30th, 2018

Al Di Meola playing Acoustic Guitar

I first saw Al Di Meola back in the mid-70s when he toured with Chick Corea’s jazz fusion band Return To Forever.  I was amazing at this 20-year-old guitar virtuoso.  We now move forward 40 years and 20+ albums later and Al Di Meola is touring with his friends Fausto Beccalossi on accordion and Peo Alfonsi on piano as an acoustic trio.  Over the years, Al’s music style has moved from a jazz-based style to a more world style.  He draws inspiration from everywhere.  One song he told us was inspired by an Argentinian guitarist.  Al played acoustic guitar for the entire performance. 5 of the songs from tonight’s performance was from his latest album, Opus.  The concert consisted of 2 sets with a 15-minute intermission.  They also came back and performed a 2-song encore.

Al Di Meola playing Acoustic Guitar

During the concert, he played a couple of songs based on a tribute to the Beatles.  He told us that he started the album, All Your Life: A Tribute To The Beatles at the Beatle’s Abbey Road Studio but only completed about 3 or 4 songs.  He then returned to his home in New York to complete the album.  He soon discovered that the sound at his studio was not up to the quality of Abbey Road Studio, so he decided to just compose the song and then return to Abbey Studio to complete the recording.  So, to compose the songs, he decided to go to the Hamptons.  He rented a house and was told that his neighbor was a pop star.  He figured Billy Joel, but instead found out it was his hero, Paul McCartney.  While at the rented Hampton home, he met Paul and discussed the album with Paul.

Al told us a story about when he went to his grandfather’s village in Europe.  Initially he just wanted to see the village where his grandfather came from, but when he got there, there were over a hundred people lining the street when he drove in.  He assumed most were relatives since his grandfather had 14 brothers and sisters.  He got to see the house where his grandfather grew up and took a photo of the front door of the house.  If you look at the back of the OPUS cd case, it is the photo of the door.

You got to love gaffer’s tape.  During the show, something came loose on the piano while Peo was playing.  So out comes the stage tech and he used some gaffer’s tape to hold the loose part.  I was sitting in the 4th row of the venue.  Al was keeping time by tapping his left foot.  The acoustics were so good that I could clearly heard the tapping from the stage.  The sound at the venue is amazing.  It is a great place to see a concert or any other event including plays and musicals.

Just a little warning for anyone going to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Drinkwater Blvd is closed southbound from Indian School to East 2nd Street as of Sept 30th, 2018.  I don’t know when it will reopen, so check before going.  If you want to use the parking garage west of the venue, then you need to enter Drinkwater drive from the south by either Miller Road to Osborn Rd to Drinkwater Blvd or from Scottsdale Rd (or 68th St) to East 2nd Street (1/4 mile south of Indian School).  Or you can also park in the parking garage east of Drinkwater Blvd next to Scottsdale Prosecutor’s Office.

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2018, All Rights Reserved

Al Di Meola Acoustic Trio Setlist:             (Album)
Azzura                                                       (The Guitar Trio)
Milonga Noctiva                                          (Opus)
Mawazine                                                   (Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody)
Brave New World                                        (Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody)
Frozen In Time                                            (Opus)
Ava’s Dream Sequence Lullaby                     (Opus)
Double Concerto                                         (The Grande Passion)
Because                                                      (All Your Life: A Tribute To The Beatles)
Broken Heart                                               (Opus)
Café 1930                                                   (Heart of the Immigrants)
Turquoise                                                     (Consequence Of Chaos)
Cerreto Sannita                                            (Opus)
She’s Leaving Home                                     (All Your Life: A Tribute To The Beatles)
Mediterranean Sundance                              (Elegant Gypsy)


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