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Daryl Stuermer heats up Milwaukee

Daryl Stuermer Daryl Stuermer Morrice Blackwell
A capacity crowd turned out on a stormy night to see Daryl Stuermer as he debuted a selection of new songs with his band. He explained that he had a streak where he wrote eight songs in three weeks. The results were heard right from the start of the tight show. Retrofit is a funky groove where the band dug in. Keyboardist Kostia played a B-3ish organ sound while Daryl’s guitar soared on top with a gritty solo. The powerful song was a great show opener.

It’s Your Move settled into a smoother urban groove. This song shows off Daryl’s gift for melody. To the band’s credit, even on the smooth jazz songs, they still retained an edge to their playing. Live, they keep the energy up. The older tune, Urban Island, was inspired by Stuermer’s former employer, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. The smooth toned guitar lines are reminiscent of a violin. The medium tempo groove really caught fire when bassist Eric Hervey and Stuermer traded solos. Hervey demonstrated some outstanding chops as his fingers fly across the strings.

The beautiful ballad, Copenhagen, is one of Daryl’s most melodic songs. The sentimental guitar line floats on top of a shimmering keyboard background. Daryl’s solo showed why he’s been a mainstay with Phil Collins for all these years. He is easily one of the most melodic guitarists around. This was demonstrated again on Wherever You Are, from his recent Waiting In The Wings CD. The story is that upon hearing the song, Kostia said Daryl should send it to Phil Collins because it sounds like Phil. Daryl did, and later received a phone call from Collins in Switzerland (where he lives) saying how much he liked it and would Stuermer mind if he wrote some lyrics to it? How could he say "no"? So we may see this also on a Phil Collins CD in the future. The song started off with tremolo guitar over an easy groove. Daryl played the melody with those long, smooth guitar tones he’s known for. It really has a vocal quality and it’s not difficult to hear Phil Collins singing it.

The band turned the heat up with the rocking Land Of Confusion. This is one of Genesis’ more intense songs and the band was up to it. John Calarco’s big beat drums kicked it along as Daryl ripped out the melody on his Strat, then unleashed a blazing solo over the driving ensemble. Kostia joined in with a fleet fingered solo as the band built to a climax, bringing the crowd to its feet.

The second set opened with another new song, the gentle guitar/piano duet, I Will Remember You. Dare I say melodic again? From there, the band went into Sharkskin suit, an ode to a suit Daryl had when he was touring with Phil Collins in 1985. It was lost/stolen from his luggage at Heathrow airport in London. The mid-tempo groove is funky with an attitude. It featured a great piano solo from Kostia and solid, driving drums from Calarco.

The final new song was a smooth shuffle called Vagabond Street. Hervey was given a chance to shine on the bass here. His playing was assured and nimble, as he pulled the notes out of his bass. Waiting In The Wings is another urban jazz tune that flows along with a bit of an edge to it. The band closed the show with a tune Daryl wrote back in 1980 for one of his earlier bands, Sweetbottom. This is a heavy fusion tune full of intricate, shifting rhythms, very reminiscent of Jean-Luc Ponty of that era. The star here was Calarco, who handled the demanding time changes with confidence. His solo showed him to be a gifted drummer who never lets technique overshadow musicianship. He pushed and pulled the time, stretching the rhythms out as he built things to a furious climax. As the song finished, the crowd came to their feet, roaring their approval.

The band returned for an encore of Genesis’ big hit, Turn It On Again. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. The band positively burned its way through the song. Daryl has had the same musicians for three years now and it shows. They are so tight that you wouldn’t know this was the first time the new songs were played in public, or that they used charts for some of them. Watch for them at dates throughout the summer.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Daryl Stuermer
  • Concert Date: 4/27/2002
  • Venue: Shank Hall
  • City State Country: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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