E Street memories with David Sancious and Will Calhoun at the Saint in Asbury Park
Something magical happened when the Sancious family moved from Asbury Park to E Street in Belmar in the late ‘50s.
The house on E Street had a piano.
“I ignored it at the time but my mom played really great piano ... and I’m just blown away by how beautiful she played,” said David Sancious during his concert with Will Calhoun Monday, Nov. 12 at the Saint in Asbury Park. “I would sit and watch her play piano all day, and one day I decided to copy something she was doing on the piano. She heard. She came in and asked me to repeat it and she started to teach me the piano and that was the foundation of what I’m going to do for you now all these later.”
Sancious then played an improvisational piece on his keyboards that recalled a classic he’s associated with: “New York City Serenade” from “The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle.”
A multi-faceted drum sequencer that looked like an intergalactic banjo that Dr. Who might play was at the front of the stage. Calhoun would take breaks from his main drums to partake. Sancious often played into a voice box that was hooked up to his keyboards.
David Sancious and Will Calhoun at the Saint in Asbury Park on Monday, Nov. 12. (Photo: Chris Jordan)
One song featured the duo producing flute like sounds, Sancious with his voice box and Calhoun on a wind instrument. A song called “Cheat,” for which Sancious played an acoustic guitar and Calhoun took on a percussion instrument, was inspired by Calhoun’s visit to Mali. “Big Beat” lit up the stage with an Emerson, Lake and Palmer progressive rock-like sizzle.
Sancious, who was also played with Eric Clapton, Sting and Peter Gabriel, took a few opportunities to bemoan the current state of affairs our country is in while introducing the songs “Middle of the Night” and a cover of Jimi Hendrix’ “Machine Gun.”
“This country is in very tough shape, it’s an abomination of the idea of democracy and it’s so very far away from the ideals and the principles that people have died for,” Sancious said. “To have a situation where at the very head of our government are the worst impulses. It’s tragic.”
Still, this was a homecoming of sorts for Sancious, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“It’s really is nice to be back here,” Sancious said. “I think places like (the Saint), no matter how small, no matter how famous, these places really are the roots of not just rock ‘n’ roll, they’re the roots of professional musicianship. If you don’t have a place to work it out, a place to express yourself and a place to present what you’re working on, it’s very hard to progress.
“I’m very happy to be here.”
Chris Jordan: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @chrisfhjordan