Not sure how I saw the show alert but as soon as I did I was interested. It has been 17 years since I last saw him on a whim. Back then I was taping a lot of live concerts and a friend ask me to tap Billy Cobham at The Birchmere. I love music so I was interested. Jeremy and I arrived late as Billy was already on stage playing. We walked into to see him just whaling on the drums. That show was so good that night so when I saw him coming back through town I just had to go. I asked Jenny if she was interested and we made it a date.
First time seeing a show at the Star Theater and it is an interesting place. Doing a little reading on the venue it is long been known for porn, strippers and burlesque. Here recently it has been turned into a music venue and a pretty nice one at that. It is narrow but long with the front taking up the box office and bar area. The stage is elevated and for tonight’s show it was fully seated show which was cool. Some long benches on the side of the venue and additional seating upstairs but not sure how much.
Funny thing is I arrived a few minutes before Jenny did that night and ran into Andy from my last job. Honestly I wasn’t surprised to see him that night as he is pretty into jazz like me. He totally lucked out and was able to get one of the limited walk up tickets as this show was sold out. It was so great catching up with him and talking about Billy. I relayed my story of seeing him 17 years ago and we both were super excited to see him.
Jenny arrived and we chatted before the start of the show. There was a sign on the door saying the performance would start at 8:30pm and with no opening act I didn’t think it would last very long. It was actually a pretty packed stage with all the band members. It was really Billy’s drum set that took up much of the space. That set is just crazy when you look at it.
I gotta say the show itself was pretty damn good. It started off rather well with some pretty upbeat stuff. It was mostly the fusion style of jazz that I was expecting to hear that night from Billy. He was promoting a new album that just went on sale so it was a pretty heavy rotation of those songs. The middle section of the show was rather slow and melodic which I didn’t care for but the end of the show brought the energy back.
One thing that bedeviled me all night was the sound. Jenny and I were positioned right by the sound board and all night the two guys running the board kept tweaking and working on things. At one point it looked like the monitor for the keyboardist died. To their credit they worked out all the issues but it was annoying seeing them constantly going back and forth from the stage fixing and adjusting things. There was even a medical emergency that night but the show went on despite it.
Such a great time seeing Billy Cobham play again. I loved running into Andy and geeking out about jazz. Seeing it with Jenny and how much see enjoyed it made it that much better for me. A good night of fusion jazz in a great looking venue. Can’t wait to see him again. Hopefully I won’t wait 17 years to see him next.
Billy Cobham Crosswinds Project Featuring Randy Brecker
Tuesday, October 8th 2019
Star Theater – Portland OR
Show starts at 8:33pm
House lights at 10:13pm