Nov. 10, 2012
Watching Bruce Hornsby's fingers glide from one end of the keys to the other is akin to a musical conversation between his right and left hands. All while the intense gaze of the maestro never wavered. Simply put, Hornsby's concert at the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square on Nov. 10 was a virtuoso musical showcase of man and piano.
It wasn't the songs he performed, it was the performance. Comfortably dressed in a black, long-sleeved T-shirt with matching tennis shoes and jeans, Hornsby put on a disply that was simply astounding. With influences and collaborations over the years that have included Ornette Coleman, Charlie Haden and Jerry Garcia, Hornsby has the ability to mix it up with anyone from rappers to Ricky Scaggs.
The solo setting showcased where he is musically these days, which is not playing a string of hits. Opening with a classical piece, Hornsby played songs from his score of the new Spike Lee film Red Hook Summer - "A great way to age gracefully scoring films" - a play he is writing called SCKBSTD and other somewhat obscure pieces from his vast repertoire.
Not wanting to disappoint those fans who came to hear his radio songs, Hornsby included "Valley Road," "End Of The Innocence" and "The Way It Is." Highlights also included "You Can't Make Me Love You," which he co-wrote for Bonnie Raitt, "Sad Song," "A Night On The Town" and the aptly named "Spider Fingers."
The evening's selections seemed to be designed to constantly challenge Hornsby. While the effort may have been lost on the casual listener, I for one will never forget it.