John McLaughlin (Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra)—simply one of the greatest guitar players of all time—is celebrating a glorious farewell to the road. Jimmy Herring (Widespread Panic, Aquarium Rescue Unit, the Dead, Allman Brothers Band) connects the jazz and jam-band scenes via his supreme devotion to the art of improvisation. The Meeting of the Spirits Tour is perhaps the guitar event of the year as it brings together John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, Jimmy Herring and the Invisible Whip, plus an encore set featuring an amalgamation of both ensembles. McLaughlin and Herring spoke
about the tour for Guitar Player’s November cover feature. We’ll have free copies onhand December 8th in San Francisco. Below is an abridged excerpt.
The Who announced their farewell tour in 1982, and they’re still touring. Is this really your final tour, John?
McLaughlin: There are elements in life we’re unable to control. You can fight everything except old age. While I have never felt better musically, arthritis is gradually creeping in. Though you can slow it down, there’s no real cure. So this really is goodbye. I won’t stop playing and accepting concerts now and again, but full-on touring requires a certain athleticism, and it brings with it a paramount obligation to be in your best form every night. I’ve never performed in anything less than my best form, and I won’t start doing it at the end.
How are you feeling about the tour, Jimmy?
Herring: It has got me up at night, but in a good way. To play John’s music, though, it’s not all about technique. Those guys have transcended technique. John is way beyond the math and the rhythm. It’s no natural for him, and he doesn’t have to think about all that. It’s just wonderful to hear him go.
How will the musical finale for each night work? That’s two drummers, two bass players, and so on sharing the stage.
McLaughlin: One reason I wanted to do it this way is because I have such wonderful memories of doing the same with Jeff Beck on tours in the ’70s. Playing with people you love and admire is as good as it gets. Jimmy certainly wants to do Mahavishnu Orchestra stuff, so there will be pieces from Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire, Visions of the Emerald Beyond, and other records. Even in my set, I want to play some of those tunes, because America embraced Mahavishnu before everybody else. I feel an obligation to do this tour in the U.S. If I’m going to say “goodbye,” let me do it like this.
Watch the promo video for the Meeting of the Spirits Tour.
Get tickets to the Meeting of the Spirits tour on December 8th at the beautiful Warfield
Theatre in San Francisco here.
For a chance to win a pair of tickets to see GP Presents John McLaughlin and Jimmy Herring, click here and put “Spirits” in the subject of your email. Include a sentence about yourself and why you want to go. Phone contact greatly appreciated for confirmation. Winner must provide own transportation to
the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, California, and have his or her own accommodations in the Bay Area on Friday, December 8th. Best of luck. Again, that email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
GP and Goldenvoice Present The Meeting of the Spirits Tour with John McLaughlin &
the 4th Dimension and Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip
Friday, December 8
The Warfield Theatre
982 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
7pm doors / 8pm show, All Ages
Purchase tickets via phone at 1-888- 9-AXS- TIX (1-888- 929-7849)
Purchase tickets online now here.