Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Good Listening: Bruce Hornsby – Cleveland Music Hall – 11/20/93

Fifteen years ago, a Cleveland music fan in his late teens walked into Music Hall on the fence about Bruce Hornsby. He'd heard the necessary tunes, but had a couple of albums missing from his Hornsby collection. Yeah, that was me, and I couldn't have picked a better show to fill in the gaps on what I'd been missing musically. I was well versed on Harbor Lights, Hornsby's latest release of the moment and debut release without longtime backing band The Range, and Hornsby took care of the rest that evening on the Music Hall stage. Moving through a setlist that covered the best of his material with The Range, some of his famous collaborations with Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, etc, and a healthy amount of Grateful Dead tunes, the Music Hall show was high up on my personal list of "best first concerts from a favorite artist.

But wait a second: Here you're thinking that Hornsby stopped making records after the split of Bruce Hornsby and the Range, right? He's probably playing "The Way It Is" on a nightly basis in a piano bar somewhere, or so you thought. Not quite - which means that you have some catching up to do, and we'll start that process gently with this Harbor Lights era performance.

Let's face it - Bruce Hornsby gets a bad rap - most people that do know who he is, think of him as that "The Way It Is" guy. While Hornsby might have been skipped when they were handing out rock star looks to future rock stars, he really says all that needs to be said once his fingers hit the black and whites of the keyboard. Like Eddie Van Halen's signature guitar tone (and Clapton too, George Harrison, etc.,) when you hear a song with Hornsby playing piano, the sound and tone are unmistakably Bruce.

If you're looking to pick up a few albums to school up on Bruce, I'd recommend these three:

Bruce Hornsby and the Range - A Night On The Town (1990)
Bruce Hornsby - Spirit Trail (1998)
Bruce Hornsby - Halcyon Days (2004)

In my opinion, the above three are the essentials, and you can accessorize with Greatest Radio Hits - a collection that is exactly what it says it is.

Like the Hornsby hits? The above disc is for you.

But if you reaaaaaaally want to stretch out, grab yourself a copy of Hornsby's box set Intersections 1985-2005, which is probably in the top five category for box sets with the most astounding amount of unreleased material. Those that are looking to hear the hits like they were played on the record can move past this one, and scroll back up to the hits disc - Intersections isn't going to be your bag. But for those that really want to hear a totally representative artist portrait, experience the genius of Hornsby and find out what truly makes him an underappreciated treasure of an artist, Intersections is your must-hear.

Chances are if you hear just one of the above albums, you're going to walk away as a new fan.

So about this Cleveland show...

Thanks to his time with the Grateful Dead, Hornsby had become very taper friendly which made it possible for a fan to get their hands on a unique souvenir - a pristine soundboard recording of the show that they had attended. It's something that we take for granted these days, but in 1993 it took a little bit of detective work to track down someone that was a fan of a particular artist, who had a copy of the exact show that you were looking for. After finding that fan, you then had to bribe them appropriately to get a copy of the prized show that you were after.

All of the efforts to acquire this show made the eventual acquisition a sweet moment of victory once I was listening back to a crystal clear copy of my concert memories captured on DAT.

There are a lot of good Hornsby shows out there, but as you'll hear, this was a particularly good night in Cleveland.


P.S. - Check out this excellent post about Bonnie Raitt and "I Can't Make You Love Me at!

Bruce Hornsby
Cleveland Music Hall
Cleveland, OH

Disc One:

Jacob's Ladder >
Well You Needn't >
What A Time >
Jacob's Ladder
Long Tall Cool One
Every Little Kiss
Stranded on Easy Street
Road Not Taken >
Jack Straw
Talk of the Town
I Can't Make you Love Me
The Way It Is
The Show Goes On

Disc Two:

Rainbow's Cadillac
A Night on the Town >
Not Fade Away
Defenders of the Flag
Up on a Tightrope
End of the Innocence
China Doll >
Scarlet Begonias
Across the River
The Valley Road

-- Encore --

Another Day >
Lot to Laugh Train to Cry
Mandolin Rain >
Fields of Gray

Relevant Links:

Bruce Hornsby official website

Purchase Bruce Hornsby live shows here, the unbelievably excellent Bruce Hornsby fan site

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