Out of Sync

02022-03-20 | Lx, Photos | 5 comments

I love the shadows on the far wall.

It can be a good thing to be out of sync with the local customs. I am used to eating dinner between 1730 and 1930 (5:30-7:30PM), which became a habit because on tour I had to eat about an hour before show time, but in Lx (a common abbreviation for Lisbon dating back to when it was written Lixboa) people won’t even think of dinner until around 2000 or 2030 (8-8:30PM) at the very earliest. As a result I can go to any restaurant without a reservation as long as I show up around the time they open, which tends to be between 1900-1930.

This week, while exploring the neighborhood, I discovered a Japanese restaurant. I noted that it would open at 1900 and that’s when I showed up. I was the only diner for half an hour and by the time I left, around 2000, there were only a handful of people there. I don’t mind an empty restaurant at all. I feel that I am there for the food and not for the social aspect.

What I noticed was that the music all seemed eerily familiar. I discovered that there is a huge, huge catalog of restaurant-friendly (?) Bossa Nova or Jazz versions of pop and rock songs. At the Japanese restaurant I heard this version of Wonderwall by the Bossanatics. The next song was a cover, too… they were all covers.

Yesterday I went to another restaurant when it opened at 1930. I was told they were booked solid. I smiled my best smile and said I am a fast eater. I was seated and enjoyed a very nice dinner. The room was still empty when I left at 2015. And the music was all covers, again, so it must be a trend. The question is whether this is a local Lx trend or, more likely, something that is happening everywhere. There is a certain joy in the recognition of a cover, especially if it has been changed quite a bit. Perhaps it’s those little moments of joyful recognition that the restaurants are exploiting. Have you experienced this trend, too?

Although perhaps not as restaurant-friendly, even Jazz musicians are getting in on the game. Here is Wonderwall by pianist Brad Mehldau.


  1. anne

    tks – great lesson!
    Some of those songs when sung by another ..180 degrees different …the sound , the mood, energy …even the lyrics take on a different meaning…yet exactly the same words….and of course!

  2. JaneParhamKatz

    I liked the jazz trio better. I can take only a small amount of that breathy female voice, but I liked all the songs anyway.

    My library continues to grow. This reminds me of record-listening sessions with my friends a while ago. Well not so sophisticated. :-)

    I have always loved shadows and silhouettes, especially of leaf shadows on sidewalks and roads as they blow gently in the hot, bright light of late-afternoon summer sun. This Japanese restaurant is so lovely!

    • ottmar

      I am not a fan of these covers, especially when it’s ONLY covers they are playing. That’s the definition of a cover band.
      I can see why Sakamoto went to the management of his favorite restaurant and told them their music was terrible and that he would create playlists for them.
      Music is not something most restaurant owners understand.

      • JaneParhamKatz

        I agree in most cases. I don’t really like restaurant music. Once I asked a restaurant manager to lower the music volume. He explained that he could not do it because loud music discourages customers’ leisurely lingering at the table after finishing their meal, getting in the way of the next customer. Sheesh! I don’t go out to eat much anymore. Saves a lot of money! :-)

  3. JaneParhamKatz

    About covers in a Restaurant, my favorites are jazzy versions of classical symphonic passages, operas, and classical piano music. Always light-hearted.


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