There are those fans who remember the Alan Parsons Project albums that pervaded every physical sense that one could have after taking a couple of drags, donning headphones, kicking back and entering the sounds of Dark Side of the Moon, I, Robot, and Eye in the Sky. It was pure escapism. Those albums are just the tip of the iceberg of Parsons’ accomplishments.
Alan Parsons came from a family filled with talented entertainers going as far back as his great-grandfather who was an actor. His mother and father were musical performers as well as an uncle and a cousin. That cousin is the late actor, Oliver Reed. Parsons mentioned in an interview that had he not gone into music, he would have been an actor.
Presently, Parsons is on tour celebrating his album, Eye in the Sky, the 35th Anniversary. The band is called the Alan Parsons Live Project. Parsons brought his show to Tucson’s Fox Theatre on June 7 to a full house of adoring fans. Here are five reasons to see Alan Parsons Live Project.
1) To say that Alan Parsons is a musical genius may be an understatement.
He started as a live performer in his teens as a folk acoustic player. Abbey Road Studios hired Parsons as a sound engineer at 19 years old. He worked as an assistant engineer for the last two Beatles albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be. He was the engineer for Pink Floyd’s classic album, The Dark Side of the Moon.
By 1975, Parsons met Eric Woolfson who became his manager as well as his partner in the Alan Parsons Project (APP). Woolfson was his songwriting partner as well as the vocalist on many of their songs. That partnership garnered the classic albums Tales of Mystery and Imagination, I Robot, Pyramid, The Turn of the Friendly Card, Eye in the Sky, Ammonia Avenue, Vulture Culture, Stereotomy, and Gaudi. All of the albums were produced within a ten-year period of time. Woolfson and Parsons collaborated on the conception and lyrics for all ten albums, which have achieved worldwide sales in excess of 50 million. Woolfson succumbed to cancer in 2009.
Parsons has continued to perform live as a singer, acoustic guitar and a keyboard player throughout the years with his live band.
2) The music is timeless
The rowdy crowd at Parsons’ show will testify that Parsons’ music is as fresh as it was 35 years ago. During the first half of the show, Eye in the Sky was performed in its entirety. The second half of the show was devoted to I, Robot. The performance much like the music was close to perfection and performed as close to the album renditions as possible.
3) The band made it happen
There were several vocalists in the band and that kept the music the way it was recorded in the 70s. P.J. Olsson was the lead vocalist fronting the band and he has been a member for the last 15 years. It seemed eerie in the manner he could reproduce the characteristic, breathy vocals from the albums.
Todd Cooper’s saxophone and lead vocals were impeccable. Jeff Kollman’s lead guitar and vocals filled in well replacing Alastair Greene. Danny Thompson worked the drums throughout the show with aplomb while Guy Erez’s bass was perfection. Tom Brooks gave a stellar performance on keyboards. Dan Tracey also sang and played guitar to round out the band.
Parsons was primarily on a platform in the rear of the band playing guitar and keyboards. He came down to the front during strategic moments during the show. Towards the end, the English rocker took center stage as lead singer and guitarist.
The great chemistry between Parsons and the band was apparent to everyone in the audience. Each member of the band had an opportunity to shine and shine they did. It was all in great fun.
4) Production including lighting and sound
One would only expect the best from a man who has specialized in sound and engineering throughout the years. The best was delivered during this show. The lighting technicians were on top as well. This was a smaller venue and yet ambiance was perfection.
5) A fiery crowd who came to participate
The crowd was as lively as a crowd found in an arena. So much for the intimate ambiance, but it was very good. The second set ended with the traditional mobbing of the front of the stage by an appreciative crowd as the band played the last songs of the set. One of the most hair-raising experiences during the show was when everyone stood and sang in unison during the song “Breakdown.” The roof of the theatre was surely vibrating. Of course that was after Parsons told them to stand up and pretend they were getting paid.
The show was much more than a trip down memory lane. For a complete set list, please click here.