Review: Jeff Bridges and The Abiders amaze at The Paramount in New York Special

Posted Aug 30, 2014 by Markos Papadatos
On August 29, Jeff Bridges and his band, The Abiders, played a fantastic concert at The Paramount in Huntington, New York.
Oscar-winning actor and musician Jeff Bridges
Oscar-winning actor and musician Jeff Bridges
Danny Clinch
His daughter, the ever-gifted Jessie Bridges, served as his opening act, who treated the Long Island venue to her crystalline and honest vocals.
"Yeah, New York," Jeff Bridges shouted, as he took The Paramount stage. "To be here, I can't quite believe it. I'm honored to be here. What a great venue, you guys have got."
Bridges dedicated this concert in memory of his dear friend and colleague, the late Robin Williams. "May his spirit be with us tonight," he said.
He commenced his set with "Blue Car," as he accompanied himself on electric guitar as the stage was graced in blue lights.
Bridges switched to acoustic guitar picked up the pace with the upbeat "I Don't Know," which featured neat accordion and stand-up bass instrumentation.
"Like the song says I don't know much, but I know I'm playing with one hell of a band, The Abiders," he said, and introduced his band members.
He continued with yet another up-tempo tune "What a Little Bit of Love Can Do," which featured pedal steel guitar, and he revealed that it was written by one of his dear friends, Stephen Bruton.
"Maybe I Missed the Point," was written by another friend of his, John Goodwin, whom he has known ever since the fourth grade. It included strong harmonies from the band, as well as an a-capella ending, which was a real treat.
It was followed by a haunting rendition of "Exception to the Rule," and the echo heard on that song, elevated it to a higher level.
"She Lay Her Whip Down" was more mellow and it had a bluesy vibe to it, while "Lookin' Out My Back Door" was more upbeat with a steel guitar solo. It was one of the most recognizable songs on his set, since it was featured in his film The Big Lebowski.
"Slow Boat" was another haunting tune and he explained that his follow-up song "Van Gogh in Hollywood" dealt with the "dark side of show business," and rightfully so. The drum solo at the end was quite impressive.
He continued with the ballad "To Live is To Fly" and he immediately broke into "Fallin' & Flyin'," which happens to be my favorite song from his Crazy Heart film, which won his the "Best Actor" Oscar for playing country singer "Bad" Blake. His live version of the tune was soaring and it proved his ability to rock out.
Aside from his music and acting, he is a genuine philanthropist who works closely with Share Our Strength, which is an organization that works to help children have a healthy start in the day with its "No Kid Hungry" campaign, in an effort to end childhood hunger in America.
For the accordion-driven ballad, "Never Let Go Of Your Hand," he put his guitar on the side, and played the song on keyboards, and was able to silence the entire venue doing so, as he nailed the vocals.
He closed his 13-song set with "Somebody Else," where he managed to get the New York crowd out of their seats and dancing along to him and his band.
"It's been great playing with you guys," he said, prior to returning for his encore, which included "Brand New Angel," "So You Want to Be a Rock &Roll Star," a cover of Bob Dylan's "The Man In Me," as well as the stunning acoustic, soulful ballad "The Weary Kind," the theme song of Crazy Heart, the latter of which was vocal perfection.
The Verdict
Jeff Bridges and The Abiders were superb tonight at The Paramount in New York. He interacted well with the audience and showcased his warm personality, as well as his rich, baritone and smooth vocals. The show's theme tonight was "dear friends," and he paid homage to all of them, which ranged from the veteran songwriters of his songs, to the late comedic legend Robin Williams. While Oscar winner Jeff Bridges is best known for his acting work, he proved tonight that he and his four-piece band, The Abiders, are incredible and multi-talented musicians. Both he and his daughter, Jessie, are highly recommended seeing live. It is safe to say that natural talent runs in their family. They both deserve 5 out of 5 stars.
Fan and attendee Brian Mazeika echoed my remarks. "Jeff Bridges put on a fabulous show. I wasn't sure what to expect, but he was a true artist. He can do it all: acting, photography, music and he has a big heart," he said.
For more information on Jeff Bridges and his music, visit his official website.