Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Curt Smith Album Release Party - Reader Review

Curt Smith Album Release Party

By Gilded Lily

Turns out I'm incapable of writing a detached, professional review of tonight's concert. So I'm going for uncensored fangirl instead. Last night, Curt Smith, half of Tears for Fears and close, personal friend of Jason Lewis, celebrated the American release of his first album in
ten years, *Halfway, pleased* at the Motley Bird Nest in Los Angeles. Thanks to Curt and CDAN's offer, my friend and I managed to snag entry to this once-in-a-lifetime performance.

There were roughly about 60-80 in attendance, including a handful of fans who had been drawn from a lottery through Curt's website. One of the lucky recipients of a golden ticket told me that fans had flown in from Seattle and New York to be here tonight. It was not your typical
Hollywood hipster crowd; the people were just too normal. My friend and I finally agreed it was a mix of fans, Silverlake/Echo Park artists and middle-age PTA-types. Two hoochie mamas teetering by on high heels stuck out like sore thumbs among the crowd. Only two
celebrity sightings – "that guy from that gay show 'Noah's Arc'" and David Reynolds, co-screenwriter of Oscar-nominated "Finding Nemo." (pictured with Curt).

The Motley Bird Nest is a cross between an art gallery and a very rich friend's duplex, complete with a rooftop terrace. Food was artfully arranged catered appetizers (too bad I was too nervous to keep anything down). Open bar featured mixers of the Motley Bird's boutique line of energy drinks. None for me, thanks, I was leaving my prime spot at the foot of the stage for no call of nature.

We were treated to acoustic sets of three or four songs with breaks in between. Curt was with his band: producer/songwriter Charlton Pettus on guitar, Nick "too Italian for words" D'Virgilio on drums and Doug Petty on keyboards. But Curt himself didn't play any instruments. No
props, as he put it ("I don't know what to do with my hands"). No mike. Just him and his stark, delicate voice in a small, quiet space - the perfect venue for a beautiful, fragile album such as *Halfway, pleased.*

The first set included two songs from *Halfway, pleased*, including the sensual "Seven of Sundays" and ended with an acoustic Mad World. The second set only got better, starting with two songs Curt had written about his father and mother. It was an emotionally wrought
performance, and the entire audience was choked-up by the end.

Curt proposed doing something a little lighter, to which Charlton replied, "do we have any of those?" They did, and it was "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," which got the audience singing along softly. The set ended with Curt singing a lullaby of Coldplay's "Yellow" to
his daughters as they sleepily watched him from their chair. And when Curt sang to them, you could sense there was no one else in the room.

There was talk of a possibility of a third set, but that intensely personal second one seemed to have done Curt in. Nevertheless, Curt and the band graciously mingled with the rest of the crowd in between sets and continued to hang around on the rooftop a good hour after the
last one. My friend shared native LA stories with Nick, and Doug drilled us on our knowledge of other 80s bands. I didn't get to talk to Charlton much, but I did get a photo with him. Curt patiently posed for every requested photo and signed every CD and photo, including my friend's. He was very impressed with her ticket stub from the '85 Hollywood Palladium show. He's one of the sweetest musicians I've had the fortune of meeting, and it's clear that he surrounds himself with similarly down-to-earth people.

Thank you, Curt and EL, for the chance to witness an enchanting evening. I have developed an even greater appreciation for this gorgeous and brave album.

*Halfway, pleased* is available for purchase or download. You can also hear samples at Curt's website.


js said...

Cool review of what sounds like a fun time! That Coldplay thing made me a little sniffly aw.

Amanda said...

Nice one Curt- I hope your album does well!

Years ago when you and Roland were touring with Oleta Adams, I met you guys after a show in Baltimore. You were the sweetest, most kind and generous people. So patient considering how tired you looked.

Here's wishing you continued happiness and much success in the future. And please do a show in the Northwest UK. We miss you.

Amanda x

Sinjin said...

Aww, don'tcha wish all our favorites were that great and down to earth? I do.

ms_wonderland said...

What a great evening. I've never heard of this chap (know TfFs) but this made me want to investigate.

Anonymous said...

great review, gilded lily. and I agree with everyone else, glad to see that Curt Smith is as nice and genuine a guy as he seems.

Kristen S. said...

Awww...sounds like a fun time with none of that usual pretentiousness.

Glad Curt is still doing the music thang. TFF really was a big deal for me back in the day.

jax said...


can't wait to hear the new stuff Curt! all the best.

lutefisk said...

Lucky you! Great review. Thanks for posting.

Maja With a J said...

Great review! And it sounds like an awesome evening...I'm probably going to pick this album up now!

Mel said...

Beautifully written review Gilded Lily. Sounds like a inspiring evening. So good to hear about a truly talented musician who's obviously in the business for the love of music and not celebrity.

I hope Curt's album goes to check it out now.

Mel (formerly Alice.W)

Unknown said...

It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I consider myself very lucky to have been there.

Curt was terribly nice to us fans, taking the time to say goodbye to us, apologizing that he had a busy day tomorrow. He really is too nice to be famous.

Thank you for your review, Gilded Lily. I appreciate your getting the word out that genuinely gifted, gracious artists like Curt Smith really do exist.


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