Concert Review: Blues Traveler / Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers (August 22, 2015)

September 25, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

ARTISTS:  Blues Traveler / Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers

VENUE:  Biltmore Estate - Asheville, NC

DATE:  August 22, 2015

Review By:  Carol Spagnuola

Photos By:  Carol Spagnuola & David J. Simchock

Bruce Hornsby 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)Bruce Hornsby 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)© Copyright David J. Simchock There isn’t a much better way to enjoy live music than during the annual Biltmore Concert Series that takes place very summer on the South Terrace of the famous Biltmore Estate. Throw in a bit of Biltmore wine, some local craft beer, and a threatening electrical storm, and youre in for quite an evening of entertainment. This was the second to last show of the 2015 edition of the Concert Series as the Biltmore welcomed back Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, along with Blues Traveler.

The night’s festivities opened under calm-ish skies with Blues Traveler, as John Popper and band brought to the stage their high-powered blend of blues and rock, highlighted by Poppers commanding harmonica work. Just as the energy of the crowd started to rise, there were dark clouds rolling in over the Blue Ridge Mountains, with distant flashes of lightening, as Mother Nature started to take over the attention of the venue folks with many attendees searching for safe cover. Though the storm never unleashed any major fury, it did lead to a long delay, and Blues Traveler were not able to finish their set. On the plus side, things eventually settled down enough allow the show to continue, and for Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers to play a full set.

The Biltmore grounds are not the worse place to be waiting out a storm as many enjoyed the food tent, conversations and, of course, cocktails.  Some fans were evacuated inside the house while others stayed under one of the large tents on the South Terrace.  After about an hour, we got the all-clear, and Hornsby and his band took the stage to what would become a fantastic continuation of the evenings music.
Bruce Hornsby 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)Bruce Hornsby 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)© Copyright Carol Spagnuola
Shortly into his set, Hornsby invited the fans to fill the large dance pit that was designated in front of the stage. Eager concertgoers swarmed in as Bruce’s fingers frolicked the keys of his grand piano. One of the first songs the band played is an all-time favorite of mine, “White Wheeled Limousine”, where wedding day infidelity takes place and the father of the bride proceeds to drink real slow.  Whether you were grooving in the pit or enjoying the gig from your seats, smiles covered the general admission crowd from ear-to-ear and from front-to-back.  Hornsby has a way with his audiences, and its not unusual for fans to scribble down a song request on a piece of paper, and toss it up on stage. Its not uncommon for him to oblige, and to stray from the set list at times.

About half-way into the show, Bruce came out from behind his piano, and took to a stool brandishing a dulcimer, with Sonny Emory joining him on washboard, and their mandolin player accompanying on harmonica. The trio treated everyone to a intimate crowd-around-the-mic type of sit-down performance, which was a fitting touch in the Appalachian surroundings, not the least of which was the century-old Biltmore House dominating the back of the venue.

Blues Traveler 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)Blues Traveler 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)© Copyright David J. Simchock Later in the show, Bruce picked up an accordion, which got the crowd up and dancing (for those who werent already). John Popper returned to the stage and joined Hornsby in playing “Defender’s Of The Flag”.  The sold-out Biltmore faithful could not have been more joyous when Hornsby announced that they would be extending the night a few more songs due to the earlier weather postponement.

The set list was rounded out with a slew of popular Hornsby hits, including “Mandolin Rain”, “Rainbow’s Cadillac”, “Valley Road”, and “The Way it Is”. The encore ended with The Grateful Dead’s “Morning Dew” with Hornsby dedicating the song to his nephew.  It was a solace point in time swaying to the heart-stirring wholesomeness sound of his piano.

Despite the slight set-back of the threatening storm, the night ended with a musical triumph.  I am not sure if it was the music or the scenic vista of the venues mansion, but while the crowd poured into the buses I couldn’t help but notice all the endless smiles exiting the grounds.   When you leave such a show, you just want to come back. Hopefully, this wont be the last time that Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemaker’s perform at this very special concert setting.

Bruce Hornsby 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)Bruce Hornsby 2015-08-22 (Biltmore Estate)© Copyright Carol Spagnuola




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