Another Stringed Instrument Virtuoso Performs

A night after hearing some banjo mastery, I had the privilege of seeing guitar master Leo Kottke perform at The Wilbur Theatre.

Leo Kottke (photo credit:  Brad Palm)

Leo Kottke (photo credit: Brad Palm)

I am fairly sure this was the first time I have seen Leo perform, and it was worth waiting for!

Upon entering the theatre, I was struck by how minimalist the stage was. Only a chair, a microphone, and two pedals (or what looked like pedals) were set at center stage. When Leo took the stage, he carried his two guitars and put one down on its side while he played the other. All I could think was, ‘What happens if it falls over??? That poor guitar!’

Leo Kottke (photo credit:  Brad Palm)

Leo Kottke (photo credit: Brad Palm)

As soon as Leo settled into his chair, he began talking to us and playing his 12-string guitar. It sounded as if he was noodling around, which may have been the case. When he finished his introduction, he launched into his first number.

Leo did not appear to be working from a set list. He has a huge catalog from which he can draw and I wonder if he gauges the audience and determines what to play as he goes along.

Leo Kottke (photo credit:  Brad Palm)

Leo Kottke (photo credit: Brad Palm)

He talked to us quite a bit, which normally would bother many people but he plucked at the guitar strings as he talked so we had a musical accompaniment to his stories.

I wish I had taken notes, because he said some extremely funny things. The one I do remember is, ‘When you buy a tuner, all you’re getting is an opinion.’  He told stories about his grandparents, Ethel and Herb, in Minnesota, and stories about close friends of his over the years.

Some of his quips were a bit sardonic but mostly they were amusing and appreciated by the crowd. Unfortunately the theatre was only about half full which was a shame.

I am not a guitarist, but watching him play the 12-string was fascinating. He seems to barely move his fingers, yet the sounds he elicits from his guitars are ethereal and sound as if there are four hands and not two.

His style is folky, jazzy and bluesy, and is hard to characterize with merely one word. Unless that word is mesmerizing. Or amazing. Or spectacular.

He sang a bit, but mostly he just played for nearly two hours.  The audience gave him a much deserved standing ovation, after which he returned to the stage to play one last song for us.

I plan to see him again, next time he tours. He is well worth seeing.

You may have noticed that the photos are not mine; photography was not allowed, but these photos were provided by Leo’s management to whom I am thankful.

About suze72

I've loved the arts all my life... I go to a lot of concerts, take lots of photos and want to share them. Every once in a while I do something other than a concert, too. The Boston area is full of opportunities to indulge my passion - I'd like to help make it yours too!

Posted on September 19, 2014, in concert reviews, music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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