Béla Fleck & the original Flecktones  performed Saturday night at a sold out Brown Theatre. There was something nostalgic about the show. Maybe it was the fact that this was there last show of the tour and the last time the original line-up would play together, although they hinted that they would probably play again one day in the unknown future. The Flecktones: Béla Fleck, Howard Levy, Victor L Wooten, and Roy Wooten “Futureman”, returned to the Kentucky Center  where it all began in 1988 with the PBS’ Lonesome Pine Special.
Although there was a feeling of nostalgia, the band performed a lot of new, fresh music from their May 2011 released album Rocket Science. Track “Life in Eleven” won a Grammy this year. My favorite song on the album and that they performed live is “Sweet Pomegranates.” I love the songs lyrical, mysterious Middle Eastern melodies, especially on the piano. Around 1:44 the banjo and later piano take off on a swirling modal frenzy. Then around 3:30 the bass guitar, banjo, and piano poke through some more modal textures that sound like the primordial development of the universe. It is fitting the song is on a CD called Rocket Science.
They all did some solo playing as well. Some highlights of the solo performance included Béla’s tribute to Earl Eugene Scruggs, a Bluegrass pioneer of the banjo, who passed away March 28, 2012. It was a very heartwarming moment with traditional solo Bluegrass banjo. Another high point was Victor Wooten’s solo bass playing, for which he has a solo CD out. A Show of Hands 15 is a Re-Mastered addition of the original version released in 1996 plus 3 bonus tracks. Victor played techniques on the bass guitar which I didn’t even know were possible. He also spun the guitar around his back and flung it into the air. The crowd reached towards the stage hoping he was seriously going to launch the guitar into the crowd. Of course he didn’t, but one can wish.
After the concert the band signed autographs and took pictures with fans on the stage. All of the musicians are so genuinely friendly and appreciative of their fans. Every concert I have seen The Flecktones at they have stayed afterwards and signed autographs. Hopefully this will not be the last time we see the original line-up.
Please note: Anna Blanton is an employee of the Kentucky Center.
Photos: album courtesy of Ryan Armbrust , group photo and fan photo courtesy of Anna Blanton