[image-2][image-3][image-4] (click for larger version)Published January 31, 2008.
Around the World in 57 1/2 Gigs
After 26 years of performing to a devoted fan base without mansions or mainstream fame, The Rheostatics called it quits, leaving rhythm guitarist, singer and writer Dave Bidini with a soul-deep dilemma: what does a middle-aged musician, whose identity is so wrapped up in his band, do next? Instead of sinking into an embarrassing bloated rock spectacle, Bidini decided to tour solo to places hed never been, including Finland, China, Russia, Ghana and Sierre Leone.
Around the World is an easy read that works on many levels---Bidinis a proven road writer who effortlessly mixes observation, experience and fact (hed be a great teacher), and his funny, self-deprecating banter, especially when its about taking a stage solo without the comforts of a band, is genuine. But what really resonates is the universality of music, as both a cultural and personal statement. Constantly humbled by his discoveries---even by the commercial success of Chinas Beatles-loving cover bands---Bidini dissects each performance, at times with poignancy. Whether hes trying to get the attention of indifferent Finns, providing guitar for young Freetown hip-hoppers, or joyfully discovering a Diodes record in an obscure Beijing shop, its clear music is still the core of his life.
Sue Carter Flinn