Guitar Night WOWs Opera House Audience

Concert Review

International Guitar Night

Lebanon Opera House, Lebanon NH

February 13, 2010

Having seen a lot of bands with a lot of talented guitar players, I wasn’t expecting to be WOW’d by these four men Saturday night at the Lebanon Opera House. International Guitar Night rolled into the opera house a show that was sponsored by the local eatery, Three Tomatoes . The festival was founded 10 years ago by Brian Gore. The current tour ended Saturday in Lebanon NH after spending one month in the UK, one month in Canada and one month in the US.

The concert opened with Gore and his composition “Fringe Hinge ” after which he explained to the intimate audience was played using a Spider Capo that allows a guitarist to tune each individual string. He followed this melody up with “Behind the Blinds.” He then introduced Israeli classically trained musician and composer, Itamar Erez.

Erez opened with his composition of “Omara” which he explained means “To Omar”, a tribute to Omar Faruk Tekbilek. He explained to the crowd that he had to modify his guitar to play the traditional Middle Eastern music which consists of ¼ tones so Erez added a few frets to perform this complex music style. He then played a composition dedicated to his friend and fellow International Guitar Night mate Lulo Reinhardt, “Choro for Lulo”, these will be on his new CD “Homage” out soon.

Erez introduced the “Jedi Master of the Acoustic Guitar” Stephen Bennett . Bennett began with his “WMD” on slide guitar then brought out “the heavy artillery” and said “that sometimes, size does matter”--his Harp Guitar, which he told the audience belong to his great grandfather (the instrument is 101 years old). This harp guitar was once used on the “Hoot Owl Radio Hour” in Oregon by his great grandfather. He explained that basically “it’s a regular guitar” with and extra set of strings to “play the base notes.” Then he joked “I don’t actually play it, I just bring it along to show people…just kidding” and proceeded to play “Sea Rose Beach” about a beach off the coast of Oregon. Bennett asked the audience to be the “ocean” as the song was recorded with the sounds of the Pacific Ocean closing out the tune.

Bennett then introduced the great nephew, Lulo Reinhardt ( of one the 21st century's best gypsy jazz guitarists and composers Django Reinhardt. Lulo performed a couple of songs then was joined on stage by the other three for a performance of his composition “Mar e Sol.” The quartet then closed out the first half of the show with a rendition of Bennett’s “Perestroika.”

During the intermission the audience was invited to purchase goodies and flowers for their Valentine that were being sold by the Lebanon High School Girl’s Choir. In addition the audience could purchase the live CD and DVD of the International Guitar Festival which was autographed by the four guitarists.

The quartet returned to the stage for the second set and performed:

“Brimar” with all four members; “African Dreams” with Erez and Bennett (on the harp guitar); “Tears”, a 1930s Django Reinhardt tune with Reinhardt and Bennett; “Que Pasa” with Erez and Reinhardt.

With all four on stage the International Guitar Night came to close with the quartet performing their extended version of “Green sleeves” which Gore said is “actually a German Folk Song, most believe its English but its from the land of lederhosen, and one of the first songs learned by Lulo” to which Bennett jibed “only the chosen, wear lederhosen!”

If this festival returns to the Opera House next year, for what Gore described as “the second annual 10th Anniversary show" and you have any kind of love for amazing guitar players, you should not miss this event.

More photos can be viewed at:

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