Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers at MPAC

Bruce Hornsby. Photo by Katharine Boyle Photography
Bruce Hornsby. Photo by Katharine Boyle Photography
Rating
4.8/5

Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers brought the piano, Dulcimer, accordion, and vocals. Then, even more when they performed tunes from various musical genres at the Mayo Performing Art Center this week in a sold-out event.

Grammy Award Winner

Hornsby’s music combines jazz, rock, blues, gospel, folk, and more. Hornsby and the Range began their career in 1986, winning their first Grammy Award for Best New Artist for the hit song The Way It Is. Hornsby toured with the Grateful Dead for two years and assembled The Noisemakers in the late ’90s, furthering his fan base.

It’s uncommon to get an uninterrupted two-hour performance from someone whose bio is as extensive as Hornsby. But his charm and funny sense of humor just enhanced his talent. The audience celebrated with loud applause as soon as he sat at the piano.

Bruce Hornsby in Central Park. Public Domain

Bruce Hornsby in Central Park. Public Domain

Hornsby showed a pile of papers with requests, and it didn’t take long for him to cover a litany of tunes that spanned from 1986 to the present. Opening with a drum solo, the group played Barren Ground, from the 1990 album A Night on the Town. Jumping ahead a few decades, the group entertained with the tune Cleopatra Jones from the 2020 album Non-Secure Connection. Cheers from the theater were continuous and reaffirmed Hornby’s power to entertain.

Virtuoso Talent

The group performed Day’s Ahead from their 2022 ‘Flicted album. Hornsby informed us he sang it as a duet with Danielle Haim, yet laughed that no one in the group sang like her. He displayed his virtuoso talent on the piano. One would think his piano-teaching mother was the one who inspired him, yet he didn’t start playing until he was a teenager. Hornsby got a Jazz and Studio Music degree from the University of Miami. Then he returned to his home state of Virginia, where he wrote music and performed with a band. Success soon followed.

Standing Ovation

Hornsby and The Noisemakers rocked the room with End of the Innocence, the lead single from Don Henley’s 3rd solo studio album. It was co-written and produced with Henley, released in 1989. The album, nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, has some fantastic memorable music. Hornsby played a 2-minute mesmerizing piano solo just before an arousing violin, piano, drums, and guitar finish. At this point in the show, the standing ovation that followed proved how those in attendance revered the talent on stage.

Someone in the audience shouted, “You still have it, Bruce,” and Hornsby replied, “Sucker, that’s a fact.” Everyone celebrated with raucous laughter.

Hornsby played a piano instrumental, Song F, the accordion on the 1988 song Jacob’s Ladder, and even the Dulcimer, an admired instrument, thanks to its sweet sound found in rural southern music for the last few hundred years.

Hauntingly Beautiful Piano Sounds

Hornsby didn’t disappoint with another of his famous songs, Every Little Kiss, which stirred the crowd into a frenzy and finished with a hauntingly beautiful piano intro to The Show Goes On. We all wished the show could go on for two more hours.

Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers are now on tour through September 2023.

The Mayo Performing Art Center, 100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. Tickets to events are available at The Official Ticketing Site of Mayo Performing Arts Center | Mayo Performing Arts Center (mayoarts.org)

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Three Dog Night at MPACTo My GirlsLove Online, and Amanda Green and Friends.

Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers at MPAC

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K. C.
K. C.
September 15, 2023 4:21 pm

Thanks for this lovely review! You really captured the same spirit of the concert I saw last night in my hometown.

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