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My Second Persephone's Dream Show Review

"A Gathering of Spirits"

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October 27, 2007
Springdale Veterans' Association Hall
Springdale, PA

I just heard that the Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012. To some, along with medieval predictions from the Chinese oracle of the I Ching, pointed references in the Book of Revelation, and ravings by worldwide "doomsday-sayers", according to REM, it's "the end of the world as we know it"; it's the End of Days; it's the Apocalypse. That's just great. I had so many plans; so many things I wanted to accomplish, and now this? Just goes to show, you just can't count on anything anymore.

What a flawless segue into Persephone's Dream; however, please don't jump the gun here... To assume that I am equating Persephone's Dream with the End of Days, or even REM, is to assume incorrectly, as you shall see mon ami... Although I must concede, if time is ticking down, what better way to usher in the millenium than toasting with a giant gulp of PD Kool-Aid. coo coo cachoo!

I just got back from my second Persephone's Dream show "A Gathering of Spirits", and herein lies the segue,"you just can't count on anything anymore"... since I have the new PD cd "Pyre of Dreams", autographed no less, I expected a compilation of esoteric lyrics woven intricately together with almost celtic-like colors on a musical dreamscape. O.K. so some things you can count on; Persephone's Dream delivered with craftsmenlike precision. But what I certainly did not count on were the eye-popping visual effects, (ala Jonathan "Strobe" Fleischman), a sound even better than spinning on my Bose system, (tipping our headphones to Gerry O'Neil) and a program even more lip smacking than the first. Since I have always been an uncompromising believer in "the first is always the best", for that one Saturday night a week ago, I was Madonna, "like a virgin, touched for the very first time..."!

After the show, flashing my virtual backstage pass, I hung out with the Beautiful People (I was sure TMZ.com would pop in), and got a chance to discreetly slobber all over myself. As I approached the jaw dropping beauty that is the lead vocalist, Heidi Engel, I stuttered out something about how great she was, how great she is, how great she will forever be; all very constructive comments to be sure. If only I could form those language-like stutters into sentences, I would have told her how wonderstruck I was by her and her rotating musicbox dancer.

I had a chance to rub mover-n-shaker elbows with percussionist John "JT" Tallent and drummer Scot Harvey, (with that many paradiddles, anyones' elbows would be moving and shaking) both of whom delighted us with a lyric-less bard's sideshow extraordinaire. Enough bells and whistles (literally) to make any rhythm section sit up and take note, I was half expecting my old fish-like guiro to surface and "play the scales"...

The notorious name dropper I am, I mentioned to the ever cool, gum slinging, lead guitarist and founder of Persephone's Dream, Rowen Poole, that my son, Jamie, is the webmaster for Paul Reed Smith Guitars, Rowen's second favorite guitar and my first favorite dropped name...

Sitting behind no less than 6 keyboards, reminding me of the mad scientist beckoning the Halloween clad Undead to rise, and claim their prize, was Jim Waugaman. Not one to pass up any opportunity to name drop in conversation, I told Jim that he brought back memories of Moogy Klingman from Todd Rundrgren's Utopia. I hope to drop Jim's name the next time I chat with Moogy...

Finally, after a vice-like handshake well exercised by 5 flaming bass strings, I chatted with the newest PD find, Ben Bond. Curiously, I noticed he has five fingers on each hand; I'd swear he had a dozen.

So, I repeat, you just can't count on anything anymore. That, my friends, gives me a thrill and a real sense of security knowing that Persephone's Dream gets better and better each time I experience them. Whether "the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars", or the Earth's rotation will forever re-adjust Dec. 21, 2012, I am happy to sit in my den, "watch the wheels go round and round" and toast it all with a giant gulp of PD Kool-Aid that is Pyre of Dreams.. coo coo cachoo! Sonny Derdock

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First Show Review..
"Mysteries, Myths, and Magic Tour"
 
I was sitting here scratching my head and flipping through my loyal Funk and Wagnalls trying to come up with the precise words to describe the Persephone's Dream show last night (Saturday, May 12, 2007) at the Springdale Veterans' Association Banquet Hall. I'm not even sure my 868 page Merriam-Webster's Thesaurus contains, (holds, includes, embodies, embraces, encompasses) exactly what I, my buddy Gary Boyle, and a full house were thinking watching this production. Weird? Yes... Odd ball? Fer sur'... Quirky? The quirkiest... Over my head? Miles... Entertaining? The best I've seen in a long time...........
 
First, before I lose myself in the music I have to say my wife and daughter love dragons; dragon posters, dragon tee shirts, dragon drink coasters... o.k. maybe not the coasters, but dragons? Oh ya. Had they slithered onto the stage last night spinning on the back of a dragon chased by a wand wielding Merlin I would have thought it "the right thing to do". This show was pulled right from the pages of an Arthurian bio. No magic was missed, from the classic Rogers drum kit, assaulting atop the castle walls, to the sparkle dusting, bubble blowing fairy bookcased in eerie glowing orbs, no detail was left incomplete. I think I even caught the spotlights reflecting mythical sunbeams off the shimmering blade of Excalibur. And no fashion conscious Guinevere would ever Fear the Reaper with the revolving wardrobe we feasted on... "pass the mutton and a swath of that scarlet embroidery please"...
 
Don't for one A.D. second think I forgot about the music... I didn't, but I did, and yet I didn't... What I mean to say is this... I can't remember any one song... Were they songs? I remember back in the '60's (you know the '60's, before the days of electricity) they coined a curious event "A Happening". My take on this is the show and songs was A Happening... They told a story, yes, well at least I would like to think I was sophistocated enough to realize that (again as I mentioned earlier it was miles over my head), and I do recall an overture and coda, but to pinpoint just where those breaks defined songs I can't say. I do remember incredible drum and percussion solos, cymbals crashing on the floor, dazzling guitar licks, power chords, dreamy keyboards and synthesized sounds, tweeting birds, exceptional bass lines and Heavenly second soprano vocals, but they all melt together into memorable mystical medieval magic. This my knights and knightesses was THE show to see (and hear).
 
After the show I was chatting with John Tallent (percussionist and fellow 1970 Penn Hills grad) and mentioned that I thought the show was really weird, and I loved every minute of it. I told him that Cher it was not... He summed it all up with a Tallent-ed understatement, "We're not that cheesy yet"...
 
If you haven't seen Persephone's Dream you are missing something most don't get to witness these days, a true Happening... "you shook me, took me, outta my world, I woke up, suddenly I just woke up to the happening..."
Sonny Derdock


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