The Alan Parsons Live Project In Phoenix

by Kevin Wierzbicki

The Alan Parsons Live Project performed before a packed house at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix on June 8, playing two dozen songs drawn from throughout Parsons' lengthy career and including a presentation of the I Robot album in its entirety. The set was a mix of Alan Parsons Project hits and favorites, touching equally on the band's soft rock hits and their often futuristic-sounding progressive rockers.

The show began with "Standing on Higher Ground," a cut from the overlooked Gaudi album where Parsons and most of the big, seven-member back-up band sang perfect harmony vocals behind lead singer P.J. Olsson. Each band member, including Todd Cooper on sax and vocals, Dan Tracey on guitar, Jeff Kollman on lead guitar, Tom Brooks on keyboards, Guy Erez on bass and Danny Thompson on drums, would get plenty of time in the spotlight during the show, as Parsons, singing, playing guitar and keyboards, oversaw the action from a riser behind the band. Cooper got his licks in first, playing a stunning sax solo midway through "Don't Answer Me."

The show was partially a celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Eye in the Sky album, and "Psychobabble," complete with a throbbing bass intro and psychedelic effects, was the first cut from that album to appear. After a playing of the mellow "Time," the band kicked things up a notch for the instrumental cut "Luciferama" where Parsons came to stage front for the first time. A couple songs later Parsons would take lead vocals for "Prime Time," and ask the crowd to turn on their phone flashlights and wave them during the sublime "Limelight;" they did, and the theater looked for a few minutes like it had been invaded by hundreds of fireflies. "Damned if I Do," "Days are Numbers (The Traveller)" and "Old and Wise" were also played before the group took an intermission.

The second half of the show began with the playing of I Robot with highlights including an audience sing-along on "Breakdown," a frenetic outro to "Don't Let it Show" and an extra-trippy take on the instrumental cut "Total Eclipse." After the closing strains of I Robot final cut "Genesis Ch.1 V.32" Parsons returned to the Eye in the Sky album for "Sirius" and the album's title cut. Hungry for more, an adoring crowd called for an encore and the Alan Parsons Live Project obliged with "(The System of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether" from debut album Tales of Mystery and Imagination before closing out the evening's entertainment with "Games People Play" from the Turn of a Friendly Card album.

Shows coming to Celebrity Theatre include:
July 21 - Jeff Beck
Aug. 7 - Tony Bennett
Aug. 17 - Buddy Guy and Johnny Lang
Aug. 21 - Rick Springfield with Loverboy, Greg Kihn and Tommy Tutone
Aug. 31 - Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman
For a complete list of Celebrity Theatre shows visit https://www.celebritytheatre.com

The Alan Parsons Live Project In Phoenix

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