June 28th, 2007

farmer

That's Just The Way It Is

Every Summer the zoo holds fund-raising concerts. The bands are very family-friendly, leaning heavily towards folk, bluegrass, country, Celtic, etc. A couple of weeks ago I was in the kitchen with the t.v. on in the living room. I heard an ad for an upcoming concert and paid it no mind. Blah blah blah blah Bruce Hornsby blah blah blah. Wait! Did he just say Bruce Hornsby?!? Pop star of the mid '80's? Replacement keyboard player for the Grateful Dead? THAT Bruce Hornsby?!? Either later that day or the next day I saw the full commercial. Yes! Bruce Hornsby was, in fact, going to play at the zoo with country music star Ricky Skaggs. Now Bruce Hornsby could be playing with Vanilla Ice and I would still go see him.

There is a nice bandshell at the zoo where concerts are held. Seating is in a large grassy area in front of the stage. We got to the zoo just before the gates opened and there was already quite the line. We zipped right in, however, and managed to snag a place in the "2nd row" about 50' from the stage right by Bruce's piano. Since picnics were allowed, we brought dinner with us. Now most people settled for food bought at the zoo. There were also many buckets of KFC seen in the crowd. But since Kitty and I are furs with class, *raises pinky* we had a dinner of sushi and roast turkey wraps with cherry pie and carrot cake for dessert. Since alcohol could be purchased there, we also enjoyed a nice bottle of Chardonnay. The weather was also about as nice as you could possible hope for. It was a perfect evening.

I had checked the Hornsby/Skaggs website earlier in the day to see if they were simply touring together or if they actually had a disc out. It turns out that they are touring to promote a release. Now I'm not a big fan of bluegrass, but if done right, I can get into it. The "O Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack is one of my favorites.

The show started promptly at 7 and the music was wonderful. I should mention that the band, Kentucky Thunder, was composed of 3 guitars, a banjo, a stand-up electric bass, and a violin. Hornsby was, of course, on piano and Skaggs was mostly on the mandolin. No percussion. They were very tight and the violinist was unbelievable. They did a bluegrass version of "The Way It Is" that perfectly melded jazz and country with each musician playing a solo somewhere in the song. They did bluegrass versions of other Hornsby songs like "Mandolin Rain" and "The Valley Road." Of course they also did versions of Skaggs songs which I was not familiar with. All-in-all they did 2 one-hour sets. We certainly got our money's worth!

I should also mention that on their website there is an interview with them regarding their cd. They said they did a bluegrass cover of Rick James' "Superfreak." I thought that would be awesome! During the concert there was a quiet moment between songs. Someone in the back yelled out a song. I decided to yell out "Superfreak!" Hornsby chuckled and said "Now we're talking!" They went into another song, however. It turns out that "Superfreak" is their finale'. Bruce mentioned that there was a YouTube video that somebody had yoinked from a performance they did on Country Music Television. They would now play that song, a traditional bluegrass classic. They then launched into a 3-part harmony, toe-tapping version of "Superfreak." Coolness!

This also illustrates the point on how ridiculous this whole debate about copyrighted material on YouTube is. Since the performance on CMT was probably copyrighted by the network and not the band, it got pulled from YouTube. We looked for it last night and it was gone. That video could have provided the band with so much free publicity! I would have linked to it here and you all could have experienced it. But noooooooo! It's much more important to preserve the copyright and lock the clip away. If I were Hornsby and Skaggs, I would be pissed. I guess it will be up to them to release their own video or put something in a contract that gives them some rights to the performances they do that get filmed.
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