Review by Charlie Weintraub
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
If you believe in “fate,” then you can begin to explain Leon Redbone. The Universe decided it needed somebody to keep alive music from the early years of the 20th century, and thus was born Mr. Redbone’s successful career. When people hear the name, a lot of them don’t recognize it or can’t place it; but when they hear the voice they inevitably say, “Oh, yeah … I know him.” Such is the mysterious existence of Leon Redbone.
Kevin Costner is a man of many passions. Most of his fans know him from his movies in which two of his main passions have shown through: baseball and the Wild West. A smaller fan base knows that Costner has another passion every bit as old (from his childhood) as the others – music. His love for music culminated in Kevin Costner & Modern West (KC&MW), a band he started at the urging of his wife half a decade ago.
Last Friday night, the band made their second visit to Northern Lights in Clifton Park, a venue which Costner obviously enjoyed. The smoky air (machine-made, not from what dangles out of people’s mouths) mixed with the right lighting and surrounded by fans standing and drinking beer is the atmosphere what he looks for.
Costner came out and soaked in the adoration like the movie star he is, acknowledging the fact that that was probably the reason most of the people were there. He thanked the near-capacity, closer-to-his-age crowd for buying tickets to his movies for all those years. Then for the next 90 minutes, he exhibited his second “career.”
The seven-hour ride up from his last gig in Maryland didn’t seem to sap any energy from him or his band – especially the very energetic fiddler Bobby Yang. Backed by four guitarists – two of which doubled on keyboard and banjo – as well as a bassist, Yang and a drummer, KC&MW played their version of country-rock.