TOM VERLAINE: Left Bank, Mt. Vernon, New York.


by Peter Krasilovsky

October 2, 1981

New wave pioneer Tom Verlaine took a hike to the suburbs October 2 for his first show since the demise of Television more than two[sic] years ago.

Although a reluctant performer, an amiable Verlaine clearly enjoyed being back in the limelight. His eager stage demeanor proved a pleasant contrast to the former demonic presence of Television.

The current back-up boasts long time Verlaine associates Fred Smith on bass, Jay Dee Daugherty on drums and Richie Fliegler on rhythm guitar. The topnotch trio admirably supported Verlaine, who showed himself to be truly one of the great guitar heroes.

Verlaine seemed to invest a new, almost spiritual commitment to his always thoughtful guitar playing. Because Verlaine is a fine poet as well, it was unfortunate that his trademark frail vocals didn't often survive the bass heavy mix.

The sweat-shirted band led off the full 90-minute set with a superior (to David Bowie's cover) version of "Kingdom Come". Most of the other set pieces were similarly from his just released Warners debut, "Dreamtime", and blended in seamlessly. "Always" was, surprisingly, even stronger live than on vinyl.

Something was missing, however, and that something was found when Fred Smith plucked-out the intro to Television's tour de force "Marquee Moon".

The whole place was on a flying carpet as the group seemed to defy gravity all through the brilliant extended guitar duel between Verlaine and Fliegler. The energy never let up as through the three rapturous encores, including a craftsman-like "Wild Thing".