Ah yes, why didn’t we see it before! The protean Ms. Daisy Jopling is a popstar in classical violist garb, she is like the Keith Richards of string quartets -a morphing woman who fuses anything she wants to with anything she feel like, a mixologist, who before going to Egypt to rehearse for her up coming recital of classical Arabic music at the Pyramids, performed at the Hudson Valley with a full orchestra as well as children from the area on a crammed to overflowing stage (17 members of the choir alone), and returned to New York last night at Chelsea Table And Stage with her five piece band. The head swing is so sharp you sit through her 75 minute set with a dazed smile on your face.
Daisy is always pushing her sound to see how far it can travel and while we would love to hear her perform Mozart and Vivaldi, hearing her perform Pete Townshend refreshes The Who classics and makes them new. Dressed like a British swashbuckler, hard rocker with a Union Jack high end tee-shirt and just about matching leggings, a long coat comparatively Ian Anderson looking, and boots, with her long blonde hair flowing down to her shoulders, and her wide eyed good vibes, she looked the role before reeling off three sure shots from Who’s Who, opening with the “Overture” from Tommy and segueing into “See Me, Feel Me / Listening To You”, and “Amazing Journey” as they dip into Pete’s masterwork.
But that wasn’t all we were getting , in a highlight of the evening, each member of the band performed a solo on the powerful jazz-rock fusion “Awakening” with bassist Lavondo Thomas’s sublime finger picked intro resembling not Charlie Mingus but Stanley Clarke; it was the same band if not the same sound at all and watching Daisy watch her band I’m reminded of bandleaders like Miles Davis and Van Morrison, who will stand to the side and listen with the audience.
Early in the show, Daisy invited a recipient of her Foundation, being given the opportunity to perform in front of the paying audience. The fifteen year old Sophia Regina singing about the effects of the pandemic on society and later her first song, written when she was thirteen for her family effected like all of us from Covid, imagine sadgirl with analog everything and you can hear what she was doing on a delicate and moving two songs.
Digging in and out of Who’s Next and Tommy, Daisy was clearly at home in classic rock though it would be a thrill if she tried The National or Vampire Weekend. What we do get is three masterpieces, “Baba O’Reilly”, “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” interspersed with an Irish jig (for her father and an unnamed Irish gent) and a wild gypsy explosion before adding “Pinball Wizard”. Daisy is such a pro she makes what is clearly difficult seem ridiculous easy, almost to the point where we are taking her for granted, it is only when you glom onto her fingers does the dexterity become apparent.
There is another reason why Jopling makes it seem easy: she is so sweet and gives out such positive vibes that the evening feels stress less, you just give into her sounds completely and place your trust in her. This was apparent to me when I conducted an email interview with Daisy a month ago (here) and it is apparent on stage, it is hard to imagine Daisy being anything but a vibrant musician who gives back to the world she was raised in. Last night the Foundation gave a scholarship to the sixth grader Steve Patino, an adorable kid in a suit and a shyness, so he could get private lessons on the violin.
There was a certain positivity in a difficult world about the evening that dovetailed nicely with the sounds, and while I wish she might have dipped into her Key To The Classics, only if she added to and not replaced any music from the set. There is a controlled wildness to Daisy’s performance, her eyes are wild, her performance edgy and excited, and her rapport with the audience unquestionable.
Later my companion for the evening, Justine Giordano, thanked me for always introducing her to great music, perhaps so but the letter of introduction actually came from my friend Eileen Shapiro (yes, “Portfolio” Shapiro) luckily there is enough thanks to go around. Daisy is a smashing performer and a master musician, “I am passionate about exploring new worlds of sound” she once said and in a brisk and thoroughly enjoyable (and too short) set she remained the Captain Kirk of classical fusion.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – December 1978 (Volume 10, Number 7)
their triumphant return to the cover of Creem
still accepting donations
the tall glass of water returns
A luminous and soulful melody
we really create ourselves in our own image and art
I scratch and kick and bite and punch
if his songwriting skills have eroded, his life performance never
the more distractions inside the venue, the less satisfying the performance is going to be
at the top of the singles charts and at the top of the movie box office