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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A LANDMARK OF MUSIC....NOT JUST GUITAR PLAYING, 25 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Aerial Boundaries (Audio CD)
Windham Hill Records did not have much of a reputation beyond pithy new-age schlock before founder William Ackerman had his head "....torn off..." watching "...the guitar being re-invented..." by a young man at a gig in Palo Alto sometime in the very early 1980's. Having the good sense to sign him, Hedges' first release, BREAKFAST IN THE FIELD, caught a good many people's attention and was an immediate best seller. But his second, AERIAL BOUNDARIES, was, and remains, a landmark. 26 years on and the opening title track still makes your hair stand on end. Never in contemporary history had an acoustic guitar sounded so huge and multi-faceted, never had a player seemed so intrinsically bound to his instrument, to the extent, as Bonnie Rhiatt later commented, that it was "...re-born..." in his hands.

But his was no triumph of style-over-substance. Hedges always regarded himself as a composer first, and a performer second, and orchestrations of his music in any genre would stand the test of time. Soul and heart were central to Hedges' vision of being able to "...dream out loud..." through music.

I had the very good fortune to see him live as support act to Suzanne Vega in the UK, I think in 1985. I had jabberred like a lunatic to anyone in the bar before the show that they should put down their drinks and see this man play. 3 songs in and the bar was deserted. 2000 people watched and listened in total astonishment, and gave him three standing ovations. I shall never forget that as long as I live.

Steve Vai said it best: "Michael was unique. I don't like using that word because it's so abused, but it stands true in this case. The first time I heard him play, I was stunned into silence. [...] There is no-one on God's beautiful blue earth who can play the guitar like Michael Hedges."
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Jul 2012 18:14:32 BDT
I also have fond memories of seeing Michael Hedges when he was support to Suzanne Vega.I think that you are possibly mistaken as to the year.I remember that I saw him play in Belfast's Ulster Hall in either late 1987 or early 1988 .I play guitar myself but I was unaware of Michael before this gig.I realized that I was witnessing a true musician of real integrity and wonderful ability.I can tell you that I knew that this guy was amazingly brilliant at his craft.The song that captured the attention of the audience that evening was 'Come Together' by The Beatles.I also remember the strange looking acoustic instruments the he played on that occasion .Regards.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2016 14:21:52 GMT
Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was Nov/Dec 87 - I know I still have the ticket somewhere. He blew my mind, and I can still say all these years later that Michael was the greatest guitarist I ever saw perform live. While 'Come Together' was undoubtedly the highpoint in terms of audience participation, I think I was already having an out-of-body experience because of his one-man-orchestra attack on 'All Along The Watchtower' a few songs earlier - similar to that released on 'Live on the Double Planet'. I should add that I went on to love his own compositions just as much, but he clearly understood how to entertain as a supporting artist, and throwing out recognisable tunes in his own unique style worked a treat. I was very sad to hear of his passing, but feel all the more privileged to have witnessed him perform.
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