Last night I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Bruce Hornsby perform with Ricky Skaggs at Meymandi Concert Hall. Though I went primarily to hear Bruce, I do find bluegrass to be an entertaining musical genre. Great rhythms, great history, and some very accomplished players. Some thoughts:
- Bruce Hornsby playing piano can bring a tear to my eye. He played a beautiful, moving intro to what became a bluegrass “The Way It Is”. That guy + piano = pure, cathartic joy. Thrilling.
- The mandolin is a funny instrument to jam on. Ricky Skaggs played the living hell out of it, but I couldn’t help noticing how odd it sometimes looked. Skaggs is a little overweight, and at times it looked like a large man holding a tiny guitar…and shaking. Incredible musician though.
- “Mandolin Rain” played as a slow, moody bluegrass piece is a visual treat. They took a song everyone knows and flavored it with a dark night, thunderstorm, and tragedy. At least that’s what I saw as I closed my eyes. I visualized an entire scene of a movie I’d now like to make. The song naturally lends itself to a bluegrass rendition (duh), but this dark interpretation was something special.
- Interesting diversion – during one song they invited anyone who wanted to clog up on stage. Three girls took the offer and danced it up. One of the girls was wearing a low cut tank top with no bra. She was NOT flat chested. She was very real. And she clogged like all hell…and I couldn’t see anything but two white boobs pulsing up and down while she did her thing. Will they pop out? Physics vs cotton/lycra blend. I bet $5 on physics…and lost.
- It was the whitest event I’ve ever been to. The median age was 48, and the racial composition was white, pale, and pasty. I didn’t see a single minority who wasn’t working traffic or parking. Very strange.
- Meymandi had good sound, though I’d love to hear the full NC symphony perform there. Small venue, very upscale. The lower lobby for the orchestra section is a museum. Literally.
- I can’t wait to see Bruce perform by himself again.
- “Shadowlands” is the bedrock song in Bruce’s head. Each of the intro pieces he did on the piano featured some chord progression or rhythm that went into my favorite song of his. We got him to play the song in Charleston, SC, a few years ago, but he only got halfway through as it wasn’t something he had played in a show previously. The song is simply amazing. I highly recommend getting a copy. You could probably ask someone who has it and they would email you the file.
- Chewing intensely aromatic bubblegum is rude. I got nothing but strawberry kiwi grape blast for over half the show from someone in my row. Thanks, asshole.