Peter Asher & Albert Lee – 10/08/2016 – Hugh’s Room, Toronto

Peter Asher and Albert Lee / Photo © Tracey SaveinOn the face of it, their coupling seemed strange but, as Peter Asher said to me shortly before the show, he and Albert Lee have rather much in common. Very much, it turned out, because the veterans’ repertoire during their joint evenings onstage is a canvas for unhurried reminiscences about the music landscape they shared and the overlapping circles of their creative lives. Song-wise, it was a snowball, going from only six pieces in the first hour of the concert to eight in the second one, yet not a moment felt wasted when Lee wove his six-string wonders and Asher his yarns.

Sometimes, the artists’ role reversed, Peter strumming a banjo for “Lady Godiva” or Albert telling tales and taking to a grand piano for “The Highwayman” that saw his partner listening rather attentively, but it was their togetherness that made classic numbers such as “Well… All Right” and “Crying In The Rain” so special. Still, while acoustic reading of the originally electric material only added piquancy to the proceedings, their exquisiteness was nicely compromised by the pair’s humor – never more so, perhaps, than on “slowed down, miserable version” of “I Go To Pieces” – the “something unpredictable” punchline and the title of “Time Of Your Life” becoming characteristics of the performance itself.

Peter Asher and Albert Lee / Photo © Tracey SaveinYes, a few mutual sacrifices had to be made for the integrity of the common ground, if not common sense – Asher didn’t touch on PETER AND GORDON’s McCartney-written hit “Woman” and Lee all but forgot about his signature piece “Country Boy” – yet that increased the weight of “Handy Man” which saw Peter whip up semi-acoustic bass or “Sweet Little Lisa” with Albert speeding up the flow after a relaxed start. This basically was a double personification of the music-induced feelings, one outlined in “World Without Love” at the end. On the face of it, that’s the common denominator for the veterans.

Photo: © Tracey Savein, South Paw Productions

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