One of my long-unfulfilled rock performance dreams is to have a gig in which my band sets up and “performs” in rehearsal mode: that is, facing each other, playing for each other, having the right to stop songs in midstream, adjust part of an arrangement, and criticize each other. We would completely block out the crowd and just do our thing, the way our thing is meant to be done.
Every once in a while I stumble across a video of an artist rehearsing for a gig or studio recording. I LOVE THIS STUFF! As a music lover, I’m as interested in experiencing what goes on behind closed doors as I am listening to or making music myself, also behind closed doors. Don’t get me wrong, the thrill of playing out or seeing a band out in the wild can be tremendous, but there are less opportunities for catching knowing glances, intimate gestures, and tossed-off asides and fills.
Today I kick off what I hope will be an occasional series on just such rehearsal tapes. Come with me, to a 1970 Elvis Presley and band rehearsal of “Santa Claus Is Back in Town” as part of his Las Vegas International Hotel stint. Dig the wide-collared, printed and striped shirts that have me salavating each time I watch this! Dig Elvis working “blue” around the 37-second mark! Dig the rhythm guitarist’s supreme concentration following that ad lib! Dig the knowing glance of the guy playing the Telecaster following a little guitar slide, at the 1:01 mark! Just dig it in ways no concert film will allow you to dig musicians in action!