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Jeff Bridges & the Abiders At the Paramount

Jeff Bridges & the Abiders At the Paramount
Mike Perciaccante By

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Jeff Bridges & the Abiders
The Paramount
Huntington, NY
August 29, 2014

Most people know Jeff Bridges because of his films, from his Ocsar-winning turn as down-and-out country music singer-songwriter Otis "Bad" Blake in Crazy Heart to his roles in The Fisher King, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Tron, True Grit and as "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski. On Friday, August 29th at the Paramount in Huntington, NY, the actor explained that as a young man he had expressed his desire to be a musician. His father Lloyd talked him out of it by telling him ..."'as an actor you'll be able to do so much more. You'll even get to play a musician.'"

As the 8 p.m. hour approached, Bridges came out an introduced his opening act, his daughter, Jessie Bridges. Her strong set was filled with bright California singer-songwriter tunes. Her lyrics were smart, her vocals were upbeat, her playing was crisp and it would appear that her future is bright.

After a short intermission, Jeff Bridges again appeared on stage, this time with his band, the Abiders (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). After commenting on the wonder of the venue, Bridges dedicated the evening's performance to the memory of Robin Williams. He simply said, "May his spirit be with us tonight."

His set opened with "Blue Car" from his self-titled 2011 Blue Note Records CD. Switching to an acoustic guitar, Bridges and the his band kicked into "I Don't Know." As the song ended Bridges commented that he didn't know much about a lot of things but he knew he was "playing with one hell of a band, The Abiders!" He then told a story about the late Turner Stephen Bruton who had worked with T Bone Burnett and Bridges to get things just right on Crazy Heart. Bridges and his band then played the Bruton-penned rollicking "What a Little Bit of Love Can Do."

The evening also featured numerous songs including "Maybe I Missed The Point" written by his lifelong friend John Goodwin, about whom Bridges mused that they had met and become friends when they were little kids. Other highlights were a memorable take on "Exception To The Rule," "She Lay Her Whip Down" (written by Michael McDonald) from his first album Be Here Soon (Ramp Records, 2000), an excellent cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Lookin' Out My Back Door" which the astute recognized as having been featured in The Big Lebowski, a rocking version of "Fallin' & Flyin'" from Crazy Heart, the haunting "Slow Boat" and "Never Let Go Of Your Hand" for which he switched from guitar to keyboards. The strong set ended with the Burnett/Bruton tune "Somebody Else" during which the Long Island crowd leapt to its feet and danced throughout the song.

The encores were "Brand New Angel," powerful covers of the Byrds' upbeat "So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star" and Bob Dylan's "The Man In Me" (which appeared in a dream sequence in The Big Lebowski), followed by "The Weary Kind" also known as the theme from . Prior to the show, it was apparent that many members of the multi-generational audience were in attendance out of curiosity. A few were heard wondering out loud about what the night would bring. One audience member was overheard stating, "I know he can act. He was great in that movie, but it was a movie. I really wonder if he can sing well enough to carry a concert." Bridges and the Abiders answered that question with a statement of their own—a resounding "HELL YES!"

The Dude can play!

Photo Credit: Christine Connallon (view more concert photos)
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].

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