Show Review: Daniel Lanois Delivers Masterpiece Performance at The Crocodile

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Daniel Lanois
The Crocodile, Seattle
March 2, 2015


How do you measure my excitement of this evening? Grammy award winning producer Daniel Lanois was going to be performing at the Crocodile in Downtown Seattle to a sold out audience.

I first became aware of Daniel Lanois way back in 1981 when I purchased an album by Martha and the Muffins. A year later, Lanois appeared on another album favorite, Brian Eno’s Ambient 4 / On Land. This began a true appreciation of the various works of Daniel Lanois.

Of the albums that were in heavy rotation on my turntable in the 1980’s, Daniel Lanois produced and played on the majority of them. From Peter Gabriel’s Birdy and Jon Hassell’s Power Spot to U2’s The Joshua Tree and Bob Dylan’s Oh Mercy, Lanois was involved in some serious productions of some of the best albums of that time.

Additionally, he has collaborated with Harold Budd, Robbie Robertson, The Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Neil Young. In 2010, Lanois produced Le Noise for Neil Young, which created one of the most amazing albums in Young’s long career.

So here we are, at the Crocodile awaiting this special performance. Opening this evening, Matt Bishop from the local Seattle band, Hey Marseilles. Alone with his acoustic guitar, Bishop was able to be more expressive in his singing presentation. As he said during his performance, he felt naked on stage without his band mates and was a bit nervous, yet he provided a great opening set.

Following was Rocco DeLuca. I didn’t know any of his music so I was there with open ears to hear something new. Surprisingly, Daniel Lanois provided the intro for DeLuca and that set the tone for his performance. DeLuca sat down in front of his lap steel guitar and created a mix of ambient and slashing guitar riffs that pierced your senses. From subtle textures and trashing wails, and then when he sang, an angelic voice, from a whisper to a howl. To top it off, Lanois joined him on pedal steel guitar, which created an overwhelming sound.

Next, Daniel Lanois took the stage and introduced the process for this evening. Picking up a hand held lamp, which he used throughout the evening, Lanois explained that he had been working in the studio on some ideas, recording them, then taking them out on the road, like he was doing this evening.

With his introduction, Lanois informed the audience that the evening would be starting with an ambient piece, much in the style of his collaborations with Brian Eno. With his band of Jim Wilson on Bass Guitar / Moog and Kyle Crane on Drums, the first musical piece called “Forest City” was upon us. It filled the room with sound, a building sonic force that enveloped the crowd. From his stand-up set of electronic keyboards, synthesizers and mixing board, Lanois created a soundscape that is really beyond words.

Moving over to his Pedal Steel Guitar, Lanois, a master of this instrument, played subtle guitar melodies that are hypnotic and translucent. With a mix of instrumentals and ambient creations, Lanois and band performed music that takes you on a sensory adventure.

Throughout the evening Daniel Lanois would switch gears, creating a full palette of music. Of note was the closing piece, “Opera”, which highlighted the drumming of Kyle Crane, and it was a sight to behold. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone playing that precise, it was amazing.

After that performance, I left in awe of what I just witnessed. I can’t wait to hear what the next Daniel Lanois album will sound like after that!

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