Concert Review: Kevin Costner and Modern West
Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Not many people know that actor Kevin Costner has gone back to his band and has taken it on the road. At the urging of wife, Christine, he reconnected with his musical roots last year, beginning with a world tour. This reviewer caught the June 27 concert of Costner and Modern West at Chicago’s House of Blues. The music was a country/rock blend in a concert that was, as promised, "Live, loud and long." Costner was in a band with some of these men when "Dances with Wolves" came out, and opted to concentrate on his film career. In fact, guitarist John Coinman worked on the music for that film and others.
Costner says on his MySpace page, "For a long time now I have felt the need to connect with people in a more meaningful way than just the autograph….I always thought that music could build a stronger more personal moment for me." The actor/singer not only creates a moment for himself; the audience was really connecting with him, as well. Costner talks quite a bit between songs, introducing them, but also talking about his life and his appreciation for his fans. The songs are either written by Costner and the band, or are personal favorites. He has been writing lyrics for several years while out on location for films, and between films. Personal favorites he played included the full version of Dylan’s "Mr. Tambourine Man" and something from the Beatles White Album.
Long known for being genuine and down to earth, Costner charmed the audience while waving back to fans, blowing kisses, and mouthing "Thank you" to fans who held up tribute signs. The curtain opened to a black stage with Costner at the mike in the center front. He said, "I thought we would just leave it black like this since this is how we spend our time together at the movies." He half apologized for how long his movies are, saying that he knows his fans will sit through them while he tells his story. He also said, "I hope you enjoy my films, because they are love letters to all of you," and it was heartfelt, not icky-sweet.
His songs are long, too, personal stories and reflections, made all the more personal by the introductions he gives. One of the most personal songs is "Superman" a tribute to his mother who taught him to put playing cards in his bike spokes, then put a towel on his shoulders and told him if he went really fast he could fly.
A true Renaissance man, Costner plays and sings as well as he writes, acts and directs. He thoroughly enjoys singing and performing live. Costner plays electric accoustic, along with John Coinman, Teddy Morgan is lead guitar and producer, Park Chisolm does vocals and guitar, Blair Forward (another member of the original band) plays back up guitar, Larry Cobb "keeps the beat" on drums. We were fortunate to hear Bobby Yang, who plays with the band when he is not out with his own, on a wild electric fiddle that really lit up the concert.
After playing for at least an hour, the band returned for one encore, then Costner signed some quick autographs for folks across the front of the stage, leaving with, "I’ll see you at the movies!"
It was good music put together to make a great concert experience, and a one in a lifetime chance to see a real film legend. Costner draws a crowd of nice folks who really respect and love him. The consensus of the fans who waited with me for the three hours was, "If anyone had ever told me I would be standing that close to Kevin Costner, I never would have believed them!" If you see me around town, I am the one whose feet aren’t touching the ground.
For those true Costner fans, I was in the second or third row of the audience, which stands for the performance. I was just about one or two bodies to the right of the mike. I stood there for nearly three hours to hold that spot before he came on. His eyes are really that blue, his hair is blond and thinning, but it is there, and he looks great! The battery on my camera phone went dead as soon as he walked on stage!
Just a note for those who have never gone to the House of Blues. Try to get the box office to tell you the actual concert start time. If you are going to listen and don’t need to look into someone’s eyes, don’t rush in for the 7:30 opening of the concert hall. There are no seats. If you are going with a person who can’t stand for that long, call ahead at least 48 hours before the concert to arrange a seat. My husband was lucky that we could grab the last seat in the house for him, but he had to sit way at the back of the room, while I stood next to the stage.
The warm up group began at 9:00 p.m. and Modern West started at 10:15. The crowd talked loudly all through the warm up couple’s great performance. I could never even hear their names, but they were a local couple and were very good, and the house manager should be more courteous to those acts. By the time the opening act came out, most of us were ready to hear some real music and not more drunken chatter. Drinks were about $9, soft drinks were about $4. Because we arrived so early. parking was $24. It was interesting to finally see the House of Blues and it is a great atmosphere–something totally different. You can make reservations to eat in the restaurant or on the Back Porch. We did not opt to eat there, but we sat in the bar of the restaurant, and the atmosphere was very relaxing.
Costner has a new movie due out in August called Swing Vote, in which he plays a musician. The band will perform in the movie, but he says that is not a big part of the film.