Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bruce Hornsby at Tulip Time – Holland, MI, 5/5/07

I've never heard Bruce Hornsby play live before but I've wanted to for a long time so when the Tulip Time board announced that he was coming to Holland for a concert I was pretty excited. Not only do I enjoy his solo work but he was in the grateful Dead which gives him serious added coolness points.

Lynnae and I went together and, in addition to an outstanding concert, we each got a copy of his recent boxed set, Intersections 1985-2005. This is almost too good to be true (in fact, when I first heard this I double-checked with Hornsby's website and, sure enough – that's what it was.) I'm listening to the set now and I must say that I'm impressed all over again.

The concert was held in a local church (a BIG church – one that seats well over 2000) and it was just Hornsby and a piano for two hours and ten minutes. He is an absolute master at jazz/rock/pop improvisation. Since he was in a church he let us know right off the bat what the evening was going to be like by sitting down at the piano and improvising on "A Mighty Fortress" for about five minutes before moving seamlessly into one of his songs. That was typical for the evening – lots and lots of piano improv in the front, middle and end of songs of his that were rethought, reworked and twisted inside and ought as he played some of my favorites like "The Way it Is," "Rainbow's Cadillac," "Spiderfingers" and "Mandolin Rain." The crowd sat in silence as we were absolutely stunned by his mastery of the piano and heard a concert that was simply stunning.

To get an idea of what it was like, listen to the first track of Intersections, "The Way It Is." The way he starts with a piano improv and then slowly works in the theme of the song is amazing. Lynnae and I had a great time.

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