Listening to Al Dimeola's albums does not prepare you for seeing Al Dimeola perform live. Nothing prepares you for seeing him perform.
You cannot appreciate his technical excellence until you see his fingers work their magic on his guitar. He brings to his craft the perfect combination of speed and emotion.
Friday night at the City Winery, Mr. Dimeola delighted the crowd with his musical prowess. He is known for a number of different styles, including a significant stint playing jazz fusion - both solo and with the legendary supergroup Return To Forever. But, on this night, he brought only his acoustic guitar.
For me, his best work was playing Latin music and he served up plenty Friday evening with songs from and inspired by the music of Spain, North America, and South America. He mixed in some classical sounding music. Nearly everything he played was his own composition, but he did treat the audience to an arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's "Norwegian Wood" and at least one Astor Piazzolla tango.
Al was joined by two excellent percussionists, who complemented his music without overpowering it.
I was fortunate to have front row seats and I sat in awe as fingers flew across strings for nearly two hours. He makes a six string guitar sound like a 12-string guitar - sometimes like two 12-string guitars.
He closed with his classic "Mediterranean Sundance" before thanking the audience and exiting without an encore. I could have stayed and heard more, but I did not leave unsatisfied.
I would love to see him again now that I am prepared.