I saw the incomparable Daniel Lanois at Zebulon last Saturday. We met Daniel for the first time at Amoeba Records in 2003 as we were transitioning from being a U2 cover band into playing originals. "Every inspiration starts somewhere,” he said to us. “I can’t even tell you how many people Bono sounded like before he sounded like himself.” This has always stuck with me. I've thought about it a lot as I've been learning to sing.
The lineup was extraordinary: Rocco DeLuca, Jim Wilson, Brian Blade, Pastor Brady Blade Sr, Eula Gipson, Johnny Shepherd, and Daryl Johnson, whom Daniel credits for influencing his own singing in the late ‘80s.
I’ve seen some truly great shows this year - U2’s Experience + Innocence tour, Snow Patrol’s return after a six year hiatus, Paul Simon’s farewell, The Frames in a field in Ireland, David Byrne’s epic production - but there is and always will be something to standing one foot from a group of people singing soul music in four part harmony that moves you like nothing else. There is and always will be some sort of gold dust sprinkled upon everything Daniel Lanois touches. Los Angeles is a difficult town. Having him here so often is a balm.