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  • Writer's pictureladiesvoices

Tom Zé concert, 6/3/17

My brother Howard and I saw Tom Zé in concert at BAM on 6/3/17. I saw the Zé concert in the BAM spring brochure last fall, called Howard, and he planned a trip to NYC built around the concert (he lives in San Francisco). Howard discovered Zé in the late 80s, when David Byrne released a Zé compilation on his Luaka Bop label. He saw him in performance in Minneapolis in 1993 - - I would say he saw him "in concert," but this sounds more like a performance than a concert: the band played in a gallery at Walker Art Center and the small audience (about 30 people) danced around. A perfect alignment with the Zé aesthetic.

I describe Zé as a "wacko Brazilian pop star." He did not disappoint! He's now 80 years old and doesn't come to the US very often (Howard thinks this might only be his third visit), so the performance had an extra level of significance, it felt like a capital M Moment. Here's a video with a nice overview of Zé:

I paid a little more money than I would usually pay for a BAM ticket - - it was $65 rather than $45-ish, I thought it was important for us to sit in the orchestra rather than the balcony. I didn't pay much attention to our tickets, and when we got to the theater we showed our tickets to the guy at the door, who directed us to the aisle on the left. I saw that we were in row AA, which I assumed would be in the back, behind row Z. The usher directed us to another usher down the aisle, who directed us to a THIRD usher closer to the stage. It turns out our seats were right next to the stage! And we had our own freaking row! Two seats in that row, and they were both ours.

The concert was delightful. We knew about a third of his songs from his Luaka Bop compilations, it was a treat to hear those. We were both hoping he would do "Solidāo," but he didn't, which was a bit of a disappointment, but that song is a little droopy, perhaps, for a concert, and plus, he should get to choose his own rep, right?