Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bob Walkenhorst and others at Viking Varieties 2006 Cheryl DeSharzer Arnoff Scholarship Fund Concert (Northeast High School, Kansas City, Missouri)

Last night I attended Viking Varieties, 2006 Cheryl DeSharzer Arnoff Scholarship Fund Concert at Northeast High School, Kansas City, Missouri. It's put on by alumni to raise money for college scholarships for current students.

Wow oh wow. Anyone reading this, I suggest next year, if Bob Walkenhorst plays this event again, go. It was a short set compared to his regular shows. 45 minutes or so. But it was majestic. Magical. Reminds me of one of Bob's songs, actually (not one he performed yesterday). The first verse of "The Greatest Night of My Life" tells about a gig. "There were a thousand chairs there were 25 there". At last nights show while Bob was playing, I counted 27 people there. (Plus the people in the hallway at the ticket table and merchandize tables and the guy up in the balcony doing the spotlight). I didn't count the seats, but it very well may have been in the neighborhood of 1000. The song says later in the verse "and when we walked off the stage, I swore I'd just jammed with God". Okay, I can't say jamming with God or any other divine images came to mind. But it was grand. Both wonderful in the moment, and memorable.

Bob played this event last year as well, and it was equally grand last year. Just Bob, playing guitar (and sometimes harmonica) and singing. Bob's an awesome singer with a powerful voice, and his singing fills the auditorium. The highlight last year was Bob singing "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". Bob really brings out the beauty of that song. He did that song again this year, and it was equally wonderful. Perhaps it was the highlight again. Or maybe it was "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". Bob sings that distinctly differently than Judy Garland did, but equally beautifully.

Bob also did several of his originals, including some not yet recorded orginals. Bob's not just a awesome vocalist, he's a great singer songwriter. Actually, I'd say he's a singer-songwriter first. But it's great that he knows his vocal abilities well enough to choose to sing a song like "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" alone on stage, and shine with it. And he knows how to let the music be the focus. Putting his best into his singing, not to show off his vocals, but to give to the song what makes the song shine.

Ah, but there was more to the evening than Bob Walkenhorst. It was a musical variety show. When I arrived, after the show had already started, a Northeast student was playing piano. Very nicely too. Exit 47's Blues Brothers medley was a highlight. The rest of their set was pretty darn good too. There were many great performers at the show.

John Northern was the last performer before Bob Walkenhorst. John Northern performs mostly originals. I think last night's set was all originals. Though I can't promise there wasn't an obscure cover thrown in. John Northern is hard to describe. Quirky lyrics. Good quirky lyrics. A very enjoyable performer.


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