Santa Barbara, CA – 2015

Santa Barbara, CA – Lobero Theater – 2015

Playing in Santa Barbara just like Yountville the night before is a very serious reminder that the big city is only part of the world of music listeners. In fact, as a performer, if you want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated, you should be sure to find some audiences that are typically bypassed by most touring groups.

The last time we were in Santa Barbara was six years ago. That’s terrible. That’s no way to treat an audience of listeners and concertgoers who are friends of your music. I can’t help thinking about this kind of stuff, y’all. It’s troublesome to me and I have to take the time to talk about this now while I’m thinking about it.

Right here I have to ask you if you’ve searched out the Shannon West article I posted a few times ago. Part of my takeaway from that article is that, good or bad—and these are my own thoughts and words—this is a brand new day of music appreciation in our country and world that is quite unlike any other time. In short, there is the fiercest competition for the listeners’ mind and eyes and ears that there’s ever been in history. Just for instance, any youngster is lured by the biggest and best film features with animation that makes any and every feat of human ability happen in front of their eyes with all the bells and whistles and guts and gore. And you can even get it on your iPhone or laptop while you are crossing the street and tweeting and texting. Can you imagine John Lennon’s “Imagine” or Police’s “Roxanne” or Green Day’s “When I come around” finding listening space and attention span in this kind of atmosphere? All of this has the effect of scattering a person’s interest so that only the most obvious and base-ish human activities tend to get through…sex and violence and the like. And the younger the observer, the more powerful the lure.

There will always be headliners that sell out 20,000 seat venues to screaming teenagers. But there has always been an audience for the smaller venue…the 12 to 2,500 seater. This audience doesn’t find their interests or musical tastes even demonstrated or shown anymore. They can’t find their favorite artist on the radio or any other form of media. And so obviously that concert promoter who showcased these artists is experiencing low attendance rates.

I’m going to stop here and continue onto Santa Barbara but the conclusions you can draw are clear and obvious.

Anyways, I happily returned to Santa Barbara and reconnected with this audience that I rarely see. And here we are at the Lobero Live Concert Series, which has been going on for 15 plus years. David, the Lobero’s executive director, was quite proud of their work at this venue. He also exuded a quiet confidence that his audience was happily awaiting my arrival. He was right.

These guys really liked our intermission program that featured all the AJ Hits, so to speak, and the new pieces that we’re introducing this season. I love intermission evenings, too. Things are much more relaxed and causal and inviting, giving me time to talk about the George Duke days in the Haight/Ashbury area and other little personal anecdotes.

My friend, DeAnna met with me backstage and brought some wonderful photos of the University of Iowa and “Bodda Bae” and Days of Our Lives. We took lots of pictures with VIPs and special guests and the wonderful & spirited Betty, a Lobero donor and supporter of the concert series. It was a great ending to a great night.

Thanks, Santa Barbara! This was a wonderful return. Let’s do it again real soon!



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