FAR EAST MAN: DVD Review
During these autumn nights Ronnie Wood bows in front of the American audience from the Rolling Stones stage. Last December though, the Licks tour was still an embryo and Keith Richard’s sparring partner lived a creative peak. After rounding up some relatives and friends from the good ol’ days (apart than son Jesse and daughter Leah, stars like Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana from the Elvis Presley Band, and his majesty Bob Dylan, were shining), he hit the market with the sparkling solo album Not For Beginners.
Differently than mate Mick Jagger’s Goddess In The Doorway (released at the same time and promoted only through a private gig in Los Angeles), Woody’s record had a life on the road, thanks to a three stands mini-tour: 8th December 2001 at Dublin’s Vicar Street, 11th at London’s Shepherd’s Bush and 12th at the CC Club, again in the capital. This DVD witnesses the second performance. Being not new to strange alchemies (just think to his 1987 Gunslingers Tour, togheter with Bo Diddley), Ronnie boarded for those gigs former Guns ’n’ Roses guitar Slash and the charming Andrea Corr. The result of this uncommon mix gets, thanks to this release, under everybody’s eyes. Wood’s powerful playing finds an ideal shoulder in the stray sound of Axl Rose’s old companion. Their rendition of Paradise City speaks for itself. Beware, anyways: they’re not good only at making noise. When a melodic blue paints the atmosphere, like it happens in the title track or in Jealous Guy - played as delicates in memoriam for George Harrison and John Lennon - silence spreads in the Shepherd’s. All around, some convicting tunes from Ronnie’s "other band" (Miss You and Hey Negrita) or from his solo career, started in 1974 with I’ve Got My Own Album To Do (amongst others, Testify, Flying and Ooh La La).
Far East Man contains then, even if it’s probably unknown to many people (and, by the time the video has been shot, dramatically inconscious), another tribute, which is mandatory to highlight here. In the documentary No Beginner (offered as bonus footage) and in the concert footage itself, you can see many times a tech taking care of Ronnie’s guitars. He’s Royden "Chuch" Magee, sadly disappeared (due to a heart attack) during the rehearsals held by the Stones in Toronto, last August. At the end of Stay With Me, last song of the set list, you see him passing onto Ronnie a handful of guitar picks, ready to be thrown to the fans. The same gesture is made by Woody at the end of every Licks show. We really wonder if any of these slices makes it so high in the sky to reach Chuch before falling down on dreaming fans.