FAME Review: Steve Howe - Steve Howe's Remedy Live (DVD)
Steve Howe - Steve Howe's Remedy Live (DVD)

Steve Howe's Remedy Live

Steve Howe

MVD Visual - MVD5252D (DVD)

Available from MVD Entertainment Group.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

It's an interesting phenomenon, as the Baby Boom generation is now finding out, to age. The last flush of the 60s is presently creeping into senescence, and the struggle to stay afloat in a corporate nightmare of business shenanigans amid an onslaught of very talented competition from younger generations—the very Young Turks who took their wherewithal from such as Steve Howe—has created unusual circumstances. Amid it all, MVD has been generating a lot of very good concert product for some time now—just the other day, f'rinstance, while perusing Collector's Mecca (the Los Angeles branch of the hallowed Amoeba Records), I ran across their killer 2007 Marillion 2-DVD issuance Somewhere in London and yanked it out so fast that the bin caught on fire. It has also been documenting the ongoing saga of the rock genre itself, and Remedy Live kinda bridges between the two inadvertently.

I'm in the mood for a longish dissertation here, it's needful, so grab a beer or a doobie before you continue, you'll probably need it. I've a number of things to say that none of my arrested growth fellow progrock crits have the spine to indite, and you, o thrice-blessed FAME reader, have the arguable fortune to witness the unleashing of all the swords, slings, arrows, and accolades in my leathern face…er, scabbard.

Steve Howe is one of the absolute best guitarists rock and roll ever spawned, a ferociously inventive player in his prime and a talent not to be trifled with even as Yes' evening star heads for the horizon and fades. I forget what yellow journalism buttwipe rag carried it, either Newsweek or Time, but, to this day, one of the most riveting music photos I've ever beheld was a black and white snap of the young Howe bent backwards and attacking his axe so fiercely, so transcendently into his lines that the image has been burned forever into my memory of exhilarating moments, along with John McLaughlin (circa Mahavishnu Orchestra), Jimi Hendrix, Bill Nelson, Pappalardi & West, and others.

However, from the moment he and Jon Anderson shanghaied Tales of the Topographic Oceans into a two-man secret outing (artistically providentially so), there have been unending squabbles and turmoil in the hallowed ensemble, most recently culminating in the ill treatment of Jon as the band attempts to stay alive in a GTR/Asia/Buggles format minus the erstwhile front man and true staple. Remedy, Howe's new group, is an effort outside that, and this DVD presents them live with a secondary emphasis on Steve acoustically. Included in the band is Howe's son Virgil on keyboards and the omnipresent Brit sessioneer and Ian Gillan Band member Ray Fenwick on rhythm guitar.

It would be certain death to be so foolhardy as to challenge Howe to a six-string duel, as the gent still possesses chops abundant, and you'd find your fingers sliced and rolling around in the gutter before you knew what happened, but he's not quite what he once was electrically. His acoustic work has always been like unto Jan Akkerman's similar forays: of interest to classicalists and purists but not quite the cake and champagne rockers and progsters really desire. On the electric side, a raft of new songs appear, all of them short (in prog, anything under 10 minutes is negligible), some sung and some instrumental, along with several Yes excerpts, whereas the acoustic segment is half of Yes origin. In truth, this gig is *Night of the Living Guitars* all over again but in a one-band format. The DVD's over two hours long, in three segments, bonus features included: the electric concert the main feature, with an hour's worth of solo acoustic and an On The Road interlude.

Skipping over to the competition, with the Moody Blues, I'll buy every damn DVD they care to release (but not the suck CDs like December and Keys to the Kingdom); same with ELP, King Crimson, and other of the Olympian prog acts. Yes and the individual group members' output is no different. Why? Because most of it, no matter where or how it appears (except for Wakeman's fearsomely bad Christian crap), is vastly better than radio shlaga, and I'm fascinated by the ongoing story of those who brought me and millions so much pleasure for decades. This is just as true with the Who, by the way, if you'd care to make *that* comparison as well. That one-time assembly of gods hasn't put out a disc worth a shit in far too many years, despite Townshend's ultra-egotistical bluster to the contrary (and you might want to put a sock in it, Pete, what with all the side scandals), but every one of their DVDs are still very much worth checking into. I have everything they ever issued, ev-er-y-thing, and watch 'em over and over, especially the Moon days.

So, yeah, I grew up with all these guys, listened to 'em while ingesting various highly entertaining drugs, resorted to their work as intellectual sustenance when the world was going insane in unending Republican lunacies (and still is, worse than ever), and each and every one continues to be solace and inspiration, not to mention sources of ongoing entertainment and diversion.

Track List:

  • Small Acts of Human Kindness
  • Sensitive Chaos
  • Country Viper
  • Diary of a Man who Vanished
  • Across the Cobblestone
  • America / Southern Solo
  • The Nature of the Sea
  • Where I Belong
  • Pennants
  • Excerpt from 'Close to the Edge'
  • So Bad
  • Last Symphony while Rome's Burning
  • Raga / My White Bicycle
  • Wurm
  • Excerpt from 'The Ancient'
  • J's Theme
  • Mood for a Day
  • Second Initial
  • To be Over
  • Intersection Blues
  • Clap

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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