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George Wright in Concert - November 4, 1967
Oriental Theatre
- 3/13 Wurlitzer
Portland, Oregon
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Review from Theatre Organ, December 1967:
George Wright at Portland Oriental
George Wright returned to Portland's Oriental Theatre Saturday evening, November 4, for his second concert for, and mutual love-fest with the people of the Pacific Northwest. Prior to his first appearance there in May, most of his audience knew him only through his recording work and the now-legendary air-shots of some years back.
His opening remarks and running introductions, and his showmanship plus the superb musicianship and technical facility associated with his name, treated the enthusiastic and receptive crowd to a prime and in-depth demonstration of the George Wright School of Contemporary Theatre Organ Artistry and Concert Platform Charm. And as if that were not enough for any assemblage of organ buffs, the evening also produced a voiced willingness--wildly acknowledged by those attending--to be asked back for yet a third concert during the coming year. Concert promoters Bill Peterson and Dennis Hedberg likewise beamed their approval.

George brought the newly gilded 3-13, Style 240 Wurlitzer up with a nonopener-type opener: Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night in the Week--not because he was lonely, but "simply because it's Saturday. How could I be lonely," he opined, "with all you nice people here?"
The tunes, as always, were well selected and ran the usual Wright gamut: classics, operetta melodies, show tunes, popular songs, the real jazz, and, inimitably, his own past recordings of all these. A highlight of the evening was a preview of some of the tunes from his new Sounds of Love album (recorded on the Kearns-Carson organ and since released by Malar Records). Comic relief was supplied through judicious use of a highly unified GW-Repartee rank (16-8-4-2' for sure, with a suspected 32' on some of the baser passages). The second tune, for example, was announced with a parenthetical Georgian abandon as "a tender ballad: You Made Me Love You (you got me drunk to do it)." A bumpuous' Mame and a tender If He Walked Into My Life brought on the gratuitous observation that the old broad had really suffered, hadn't she? And a break- neck- paced "old - fashioned fingerbuster, Dizzy Fingers, was briefly interrupted by George's shouted counting of a "1-2, 1-2' cadence when acoustical lag momentarily overtook him. And so it went, with George Wright eminently in control of both audience and instrument, for the next hour and a charming half.
The concert's end found George Wright still apparently attempting to gainsay any lingering traces of a lonely Saturday night, for he took the console down to the strains of a very beautiful You'll Never Walk Alone. And his audience, walking with George all the way and rising in spontaneous standing ovation, received in return a parting Goodnight, Sweetheart.
The Oriental Wurlitzer never sounded better. ATOE'ers who remember its high-powered, breathy quality under Mildred Alexander's fingers at the 1966 National Convention could hardly recognize it as the same instrument. As reworked to Mr. Wright's specifications by Portland's Dennis Hedberg, the organ at times produced sounds closely akin to those of the home-base studio installation at Pasadena. With the exception of a slipped stopper--at which George sent Dennis scurrying up "a couple of miles" --and some minor tuning since he was already up there, the organ's performance nearly matched that of the performing artist.
THOROUGHLY ORIENTAL GEORGE--with friends Ruth Carson (on the left) and U Nei-Mit, the main lobby centerpiece at the top of the staircase leading to the first balcony of Portland's Oriental Theatre. "Never have I seen a wilder place," said George in introducing "Lotus Land," his tribute to the Oriental. "Part of it is very beautiful, part extremely hideous, and you put the whole thing together and the result is really a masterpiece of architecture in its own way . . . I suppose it will become a parking lot or a supermarket someday."

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