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Review and photos by Mary AndrewsJeff Bridges, "The Dude," did not attempt to separate the actor from the musician during his return appearance at the Fox Theatre Saturday night. He introduced many of the songs as "The Dude" or "Bad" Blake from "Crazy Heart." He gave songwriting credits to Stephen Bruton, T Bone Burnett, and his lifelong friend, John Goodwin.
The show opened on a strong note with two Steve Bruton songs, "I Don't Know" and "What a Little Love Can Do." From there Jeff introduced his band mates individually: Bill Flores on pedal steel, lap guitar and accordion; Bridges' longtime collaborator, musical director/guitarist Chris Pelonis; Randy Tico on electric and upright bass and drummer Tom Lackner. They have spent a lot of time together over the last two years. They mentioned that they traveled over 24,000 miles last year. The result was a very tight, accomplished group of musicians including Bridges! Jeff rotated between playing guitar and keyboards throughout the show. Bridges vocals were strong and melodic regardless of whether he was singing with the band or accompanying himself solo.
One of the highlights of the show was CCR's "Lookin' Out My Back Door." Jeff introduced it as "Here's one from "The Dude." Bill Flores killed it with his pedal steel guitar! Chris Pelonis played a masterful guitar on "Slow Boat" and " Van Gough Came To Hollywood" and some righteous harmonica on "Somebody Else."
Jeff conversed with the audience much like they were in his living room. One of his favorite subjects is "Share Our Strength." "Everyone wants our kids to succeed. The kids are our future and education is an important part of that. The fact is that we have so many kids that come to school too hungry to learn. They are not getting breakfast at home. They are not coming to school a half an hour early to eat in the cafeteria. They spend their day hungry. I belong to a wonderful organization called "Share Our Strength" and they have a no kid hungry campaign that they want to turn that around. To do that, they work with school districts to take breakfast out of the cafeteria and move it into the classroom. All the kids can start the day with healthy meals. They are having great success all over the country. Govenors and businesses are working together to make that a priority. For instance, here in Arizona, you've got maybe one half a million kids who are struggling with hunger and one half of those kids are not getting the free meal at school that they are eligible for. We are trying to turn that around, bring attention to it. I want to encourage you guys to share your strength and, if you like, and I hope you do like, go to our website, www.nokidhungry.org. Find out how you might help.
He broached on the subject of his dad. "Sea Hunt." Do any of you remember that show? Dad, he really loved making movies. If you look at "Sea Hunt" and you see a kind of chubby little eight year-old kid, that's probably me. Most definitely me. I'm a product of nepotism really. Who wants to do what their parents want them to do, right? I was a teenager interested in the music thing. Dad said, ‘Jeff, don't be ridiculous.' The thing about acting is you get to do everything you are interested. You'll be called upon to play music.' He was right. Thank you, dad."
Jeff Bridges has become very comfortable in his skin performing on stage. He haphazardly mentioned before starting a song, " I particularly loved making movies in Arizona, "The Climax" and "Starman." Thank you for having that big crater." Cheers arose from a crowd that was very comfortable interacting with the legendary star. After all, we must abide.
1. I Don't Know
2. What a Little Bit of Love Can Do
3. Blue Car
4. To Live Is to Fly
5. Maybe I Missed the Point
6. Exception to the Rule
7. She Lay Her Whip Down
8. Fallin' & Flyin'
9. 1000 Year Plan
10. Lookin' Out My Back Door
(Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
11. Slow Boat
12. Van Gogh in Hollywood
13. Never Let Go of Your Hand
14. Somebody Else
15. Brand New Angel
16. The Weary Kind
17. The Man in Me (Bob Dylan cover)
18. So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star
(The Byrds cover)
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