Lovers (for Philadelphia) - A Very Special Musical Journey

The Ars Nova Workshop and Nels Cline curated an amazing evening of live music last night at the ONE NIGHT ONLY, Nels Cline’s “Lovers (for Philadelphia)” - at Union Transfer. A culmination of the more then a year long inspirational exploration of Philadelphia’s musical legacy by, Nel’s Cline! As the lights dimmed, Lovers (for Philadelphia) opened with “Introduction/Diaphanous” and you could already feel the positive musical vibes within the space.

The first set of the evening consisted of selections from Nel’s Lovers Album (2016) and I learned that we also share a mutual love for Sonic Youth – as he performed his arrangement of “Snare, Girl” from Lovers. Nel’s Cline was joined by the 17-piece Lovers (for Philadelphia) Orchestra – led by passionate conductor Michael Leonhart; it was truly amazing to see everyone performing at such a high level to honor LOVE in Philadelphia!

The second set started with short introduction by Nels, explaining his Philadelphia inspired song choices and further exploring his journey in this experience. He spoke of the importance in his family of art & performance, going to the theater with his family often as a child. Though he never saw the popular performance The King & I with his family as child, he chose to prerform “I Have Dreamed” from it - which transitioned into an amazing performance of “Folk Song For Rosie” by Paul Motian.

Events creator Mark Christman (Ars Nova Workshop) briefly told me of a few amazing experiences throughout his inspiring journey creating “Lovers (for Philadelphia)” and shared a great tip about R & B Records (Upper Darby, PA) – a great little shop that only sells 45’s (owned by Val Shively). I will definitely be stopping in there on my next trip to Philadelphia!

Everyone I spoke with was very excited to be a part of this special evening celebrating LOVE and weaving together the historic music legacy of Philadelphia! The fans especially enjoyed Nels Special Brew “Lovers Saison” – brewed in collaboration with Nels Cline & Tired Hands Brewing Company (Ardmore, PA) - with elements of roses, hibiscus, cacao, and strawberry. I really think they are going to need to brew up some more.

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Set 1 - Selections from Lovers
1. Introduction/Diaphanous
2. Beautiful Love
3. Hairpin & Hatbox
4. Secret Love
5. Cry, Want
6. Lady Gabor
7. The Night Porter/Max Mon Amour
8. Snare, Girl
9. So Hard It Hurts/Touching

Set 2 - Lovers (for Philadelphia
1. I Have Dreamed/Folk Song for Rosie
2. Whisper Not/Let Me Love You by the Sea
3. Aisha
4. Miss Otis Regrets
5. April Kisses
6. The Magic of Her Nearness
7. The Philly Suite:
          The French Woman
          Loving You
          The Tough of You
          La La Means I Love You