Tin Angel
Philadelphia, PA
Saturday October 12, 1996
2nd show 10:00pm
1st show

If you have photos and/or more information about this show, including thoughts and posts, please contact me. I'd love to include them.

Opener: Joy Askew

Happy Rhodes - Vocals and Guitar
Kelly Bird - Backing vocals
Kevin Bartlett - Electric guitars & interesting electronic box full of goodies
Carl Adami - Bass

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meth's writeup from Rhodeways #10

Happy, Happy, Joy Joy!

Happy Rhodes Live At The Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA October 12, 1996. Review by Merideth Tarr, Boonton, NJ

On a Saturday evening this past autumn in Philadelphia, a group of Happy's biggest fans got together at the Tin Angel. a small performance space located in the heart of downtown, to see Happy play with Joy Askew opening.

As always, it was a wonderful evening of music. Joy Askew is perhaps best known as Peter Gabriel's touring keyboardist and sometimes backup vocalist. though she is a formidable songwriter and musician in her own right. Her latest album, Tender City, was released on Private Music earlier this year to rave reviews. I must admit to feeling a little awed at seeing Joy Askew open for Happy, since Joy's name has been part of my musical lexicon even longer than Happy's has, which is a very long time! I have seen her playing with Peter Gabriel and liked her solo music for quite some time now, so naturally I was quite looking forward to seeing her perform solo. She and her guitarist Julian took the stage just after 7:30, and played five really good songs. Askew, who looks just like Chrissie Hynde's long-lost waif sister and sounds quite a bit like Shona Laing, is now pronouncing her last name as-KEW, and mentioned that around the same time as she changed her name this year, she took up playing the guitar. Her playing was quite goad, considering the brief period in which she's had to learn so far; however, she still had a keyboard on stage, which she played on a couple of songs. The early show audience gave her a good reception.

Then around 8:45, Kevin Bartlett, Carl Adami, and Kelly Bird appeared on stage, followed by Happy herself. and the crowd went wild. The band launched right into "Look For The Child," followed by "Collective Heart." I must say that this is one song that really hasn't worked for me live, but that night everything clicked, and for the first time the bridge transported me to the same place as the studio version. Happy and Kelly's harmonies on "Save Our Souls" were literally breathtaking, and "Down, Down" was an amazing surprise. For "The Issue Is," as she has been doing at all of her performances this year, Happy employed a taped vocal loop, this time a prerecorded snippet from the film The Professional. This was followed by a rocking new song called "How It Should Be," which debuted this past July at the Tinker Street Cafe in Woodstock and bodes well forthe next album.

David Bowie's "Space Oddity" wgs a real surprise. Happy introduced it by saying shEi was kind of worried about how it was going to go, but it sounded great. AftE?r hearing this cover, I'm sure more people are going to revise their thumbnail description of Happy's voice to "Kate Bush and David Bowie singing a duet." Carl and Kevin left the stage for "Summer." which Happy and Kelly harmonizE;?dbn b (jutifully, accompanied by Happy on guitar. The guys came back for "Jork:' another wonderful new song, at the beginning of which Happy exhorted us all to dance. Had there been room, I think everyone would have done just that; it is a good song to groove to, and since it's possible to groove sitting down as well, we all made do with that.

"Lay Me Down" and "All Things" ended the main set lushly and beautiful. though the synthesized drum beat that was supposed to accompany "All Things" didn't kick in until the middle of the song, at which point the band realized they weren't keeping the right time and spent the rest of the song trying to get in synch with the rhythm. The results weren't what the band had intended, but it sounded interesting all the same.

The first song of the encore was Jon Anderson's "Soon," (one part of the "Yes Medley" on The Keep) which Happy sang alone on stage, accompanying herself on guitar. The rest of the band came back for a red-hot rendition of "Possessed" which was the cruelest of selections, since it just left the crowd wanting more. Fortunately for some of us, there was still more to come.

Because there wasn't as much of a time consideration for the second show of the evening, both Joy Askew and Happy were able to do longer sets. Joy took the stage once again shortly after 10:30. The audience was a lot more vocal in their appreciation for Joy Askew this time, and she seemed to be having a better time as well.

For Happy, everything seemed to click even better the second time around; she was much more self-assured on "Space Oddity," "Jork" was even smoother and funkier, and the drum beat worked great on "Lay Me Down." "Phobos" found it's way onto the set list. and the Duran Duran cover "Come Undone" was fun as always, though I don't think very many in the audience knew what it was. During the encore, Carl joined Happy after her solo "Soon" for another new song, "Tragic," which is gorgeous and quite reminiscent of her very earliest material. not to mention there's a clear Yes element to it as well. As before, "Possessed" left the audience craving more, and as she had all night. Happy treated us with a little bit of stand-up comedy between almost every song, which at several points had the audience laughing so hard that tears flowed. She is a brilliantly funny woman, and it was refreshing to see her comfortable enough on stage to let that shine through.

1996 has given Happy's East Coast fans a chance to see her perform more often than ever before. While rumor has it that this year's lineup will probably never back Happy up as an ensemble again.

We can hope that 1997 will see an expansion of her touring radius so that more of her fans can share the unique experience of a live Happy Rhodes performance, which is certainly something that is not to be missed.

Happy and Melissa Matern at the Tin Angel, October 12, 1996