All Photos by Stanley Abraham
Based on the performance at B.B. King’s, Al Di Meola’s precision and passion have not diminished over the years. Di Meola joined Chick Corea’s band, Return to Forever, in 1974, and he has been evolving ever since. Currently, his band consists of Elias Tona on bass, Luis Alicea on drums, Gumbi Ortiz on percussion and Philippe Saisse on keyboard. Evan Garr, who was introduced last year during a tour, is also now part of the team.
DiMiola’s ongoing “Elegant Gypsy meets Romantic Warrior Electric Tour” lived up to its name, as the group played “One Night Last June” and “Flight Over Rio” from the Elegant Gypsy era, before playing “Babylon,” a track from Di Meola’s new album, Elysium.
Di Meola interacted playfully with the audience and also shared a link with his bandmates that was evident throughout the performance. Gumbi Ortiz, who has been with Di Meola for 24 years, was clearly in sync, especially during the more intimate acoustic set. The audience greeted each song with appreciation, and the musicians used that energy in their playing.
Di Meola performed “And I Love Her,” by the Beatles, during the acoustic set. He expressed his connection to the Beatles with his album All Your Life (A Tribute to the Beatles), his thank you to those who inspired his own entry into music as a guitarist.
By the end of the show, many members in the audience were standing. They continued to provide a standing ovation during the encore, which ended with an energetic rendition of “Race With The Devil On Spanish Highway.”