Thursday, March 17, 2011

More Reverb – Pierre Bensusan @ IMT 03-16-2010

Pierre Bensusan @ IMT 03-16-2010

Last night Pierre Bensusan returned to the DC Metro area with an exhilarating set of acoustic music. Dubbed the “KIng of Reverb” by Dave of the Institute of Musical Traditions, Pierre played to a nearly full house in the intimate theater at the Takoma Park Community Center. The reverb remark was a running gag throughout the concert much akin to the “more cowbell” joke made famous in an SNL skit. At one point, I shouted “more cowbell” and Pierre responded with bemusement to the unfamiliar concept and added it to his ongoing humorous remarks between songs. Even though he was near the end of this tour, he was clearly in a jovial mood!

Pierre played his trademarked open tuning guitar based music that shifts seamlessly between medieval folk songs, celtic reels, wordless jazz singing, and middle eastern sonorities. Because of his long association with the open tuning style he could also be dubbed the “KIng of DADGAD”.

I first encountered his music while travelling in France in 1982 and stumbled upon his Solilaï album that I bought in an FNAC in Paris. I still have that LP today and enjoy listening to it along with his numerous other releases since then.

For me there was never a wrong note in the evening’s performance and this was probably the best of all the times that I have seen him perform.

Pierre concluded the evening with an encore medley of celtic tunes which was thrilling to me and was the perfect conclusion to a flawless performance.

Bravo Pierre Bensusan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

iPad 2 = Best Buy Fail

Just got back from purchasing my iPad 2. Only spent about 1.5 hours in total on this exercise.

I first went to my local Best Buy store which is less than a mile from my house. I had called the day before to get a feel for their expected supply and was told they had 20 pieces of multiple sizes to sell. Armed with this information I took a chance. Well I arrive and am told at 4 pm they have 10 and are already sold out! I then go to the back of the store and ask to speak to a manager for clarification. There were already 20 people in line that had been waiting since 12 pm! I start asking questions about their expected stock and they can’t answer and don’t know anything. They then said that if I kept asking questions they would escort me from the store!

Best Buy, your customer service is horrendous. You should be able to answer basic questions without threatening your customers. Give people enough information to make informed decisions. Stringing people along is not beneficial to your business or customers. If it’s too much for your business to handle something like this then just don’t bother.

So, I abandoned this Best Buy failure and headed to my local Target store less than a quarter mile away.

I arrived to find that they only had 5 of the 32 gb model. I only wanted the 16 gb model but adapted to this new reality. I want to give high kudos to the Target staff in Wheaton, MD who were courteous and and honestly answered questions without equivocation. I later learned that they had been trained by their management for this occasion. It showed and is appreciated by this customer. Being honest with your customers is the only proper and appropriate way to behave. Target understands this – Best Buy does not.

I was fourth in line and so I was able to purchase an iPad 2 without drama and was on my way by 5:10 pm.

If I had gone to one of the two Apple stores in my area, I would still be in line waiting although it has been stated online that Apple stores have plenty of supply.

I think the very small allocation to the non-Apple stores is poor planning by Apple and is mostly an exercise in frustration for customers. Either ship sufficient stock to partner stores or just only sell them at Apple. Apple could do better but it is a game they seem to enjoy playing?

Update: I just saw this article that points to Best Buy sales shenanigans and Apple being none too pleased. If this article is accurate, it explains my experience and further reinforces my belief that Best Buy is on a downward spiral and will fail in the not too distant future.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

California Guitar Trio at Wolftrap Barns 2011

At the last moment, I decided to attend a CGT performance last night at Wolftrap Barns. The band was in good form as usual and played a nearly perfect set. They were in a reminiscent mood since this is their twentieth anniversary tour. Paul Richards commented that they had a lot of history playing in the metro DC area and recounted these concerts plus their involvement in the Guitar Craft directed by Robert Fripp. He mentioned their early Crafty Guitarists concerts at George Washington University over 20 years ago that I also attended.

As in the past, they also recorded and burned CDs of the concert directly after the show. In my opinion, this should be standard practice at all concerts.

I absolutely love the Wolftrap Barns hall and it’s always perfect acoustic sound. I’ve had seats all over the hall and there isn’t a bad spot anywhere.

Next week I have tickets to the incomparable Pierre Bensusan at IMT. A great couple of weeks for guitar music.