Pat Metheny Live at Rady Shell

A particularly eclectic booking in the inaugural season of the Rady Shell was Pat Metheny, the immensely talented guitarist. The setting of the venue on the San Diego Bay is suitably majestic. The soaring shell reminds some of the iconic TWA terminal at JFK Airport in NYC. The sound is excellent, despite the potential for calamity with swirling winds across the water. Similarly, the sightlines are very good from almost anywhere.

Pat Metheny brought to San Diego James Francies & Joe Dyson to complete his trio SIDE-EYE. It was an early stop on a 100 date global tour, but already the group was in fine form. Francies handled multiple keyboards, while rhythm was kept by New Orleans drummer Dyson. Dyson’s role was especially important, as both Metheny and Francies take delightful sonic flights of fancy.

The San Diego show was a couple weeks after the release of the project’s new album SIDE-EYE NYC (V1.IV), which has met with generally strong reviews. The album, like the concert was built on the soaring yet melodic fretwork of Metheny. He is the only musician to win GRAMMYs in twelve separate categories, so he is obviously familiar with pushing the edge of the envelope. Genre is not something with which Metheny is particularly comfortable, but he has moved smoothly across the fields of jazz, classical, rock, and country (and collaborated with a disparate list of artists including David Bowie, Herbie Hancock and Steve Reich).

“Turnaround” and “Bright Size Life” from the new album were particularly well-received. Using mostly his famed hollow body guitar, Metheny exhibited a remarkable dexterity. His younger bandmates kept up with aplomb.

The evening was a delightful blend of music and setting. 

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.