by Sheikh Faraaz
For the longest time, I had acknowledged a change coming on; all the while straying from the fact that changes were taking their place in various shapes and forms in my body and in my mind. As I grow older, I notice vast modifications in the way my writing has transformed, my photography has developed, my eating habits have turned around and what my mind set has found; basically just getting away from anger and hostility while craving the need to embrace positivity. Of course, all of this would be incomplete without mentioning Jeff Bridges’ indirect yet profound impact on my life.
My story with Jeff Bridges began something like this–for the longest time, I was told that my idiosyncrasies and my traits resembled “The Dude” by ex-girlfriends and by close friends long before I had even watched The Big Lebowski. As years went by, I realized that most people had a copy of the movie at their household. Almost every time I mentioned that I hadn’t watched it, I would be made aware that the main character from the movie reminded them of me. This continued for a while until one day, I spoke to a friend about it while gazing at his copy of the movie on top of his oversized, ubiquitous shelf. The conversation went something along the lines of this, “People have been calling me this dude fella and I have no idea who this fucker is. On a separate note, every time I mention the fact that I’ve never watched The Big Lebowski, they tell me that I resemble the main character. I’ve always been told that I remind friends of these two people. What is it about them in particular that’s so similar to me, man?” Upon hearing this, my friend stared at me for a few seconds to make sure that I wasn’t playing dumb. When he realized that wasn’t the case, he yelled out, “It’s one guy! It’s Jeff Bridges.” That was my introduction to Mr. Bridges and then I watched The Big Lebowski. I’ve had Creedence tapes as a kid, I’ve driven around my neighborhood banging on the hood of my car back when we had tape decks in them. I absolutely despise Metallica and I too hate the fucking Eagles, man. I also live in Seattle and I’ve known to be very slow in the past.
This whole form of realization would be incomplete without mentioning the man’s compassionate and effective contribution to the world of arts and philanthropy, who played with his band, The Abiders, to a packed audience on Friday night at the Moore Theater. If there’s one man who fits the bill for being an all-rounder, Jeff Bridges, in my opinion, is the cream of the crop. A humanitarian, actor, musician, photographer and as someone who’s worked extensively to end child hunger by working with zen peacemakers, there is no denying of the credibility that Mr. Bridges has shown and continues to put forward in the most healthiest way imaginable with consistent initiatives. The only time you will see him frown or get mad would be in the movies. Off-screen, he’s as humble and peaceful as The Dude himself. That being the reason why a movie like The Big Lebowski has such a cult following. Some of us don’t really want to be heroes but just good to people around us and I have learned a great deal about how to go through life by following his ways. That being said, the medication bit hasn’t exactly panned out yet due to a lack of knack but someday, maybe.
The opening act of the night was Seattle’s own Richard Peterson who has been known to be a street performer as a trumpeter. After speaking to a few people outside the show about his ability to play the trumpet, it sounded as though most are skeptical of his fondness for this particular instrument. However, I was stunned at the intensity of the melodies that yielded with quite a bit of ominous feel when he took his seat in front of the piano. At one point, I found myself in awe because of how many ideas he had for changes in pattern which, as much as it may be unusual, adds up to his repertoire to think out of the box; making him an innovative and creative musician. Bridges’ last stop in Washington at the Chateau St. Michelle when he toured for Crazy Heart included Peterson as an opening act as well. With his signature hat wave, Peterson comes off as humble as Bridges at times which proves to show why he is invited to play along with Bridges and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was not only the good music that he’s capable of performing but also because of the good energy that he brings to the table.
Jeff Bridges & The Abiders took the stage a little after 9:00 PM. Wearing a black, Seattle 7 bowling shirt, he shared his fondness about the city and mentioned a long list of friends who live here; many of whom were in attendance. The story started off with him jesting about how he was unable to decide what to wear to the show until he came across the bowling shirt. What followed was a series of dude references in between songs, something that got the crowd very excited. The setlist consisted of six songs from his film Crazy Heart for which he has won an Academy Award for the portrayal of Bad Blake; a washed-up country singer on the road. He also played a few tunes off his own record that I have listened to exclusively but up until last night, I wasn’t aware that some of the really good stuff in that one was written by his friend with whom he goes back all the way to fourth-grade. Obviously, a Jeff Bridges set would be incomplete without a few covers which included the track that opens up The Big Lebowski and comes back in one of the dream sequences, “The Man in Me.” Another Dylan cover that followed was “Ring Them Bells” with a very unique arrangement, much different than the original. A well-timed and melodic “Lookin’ out my Back Door” by Creedence was also covered that was made famous during the car scene in the The Big Lebowski when he drops the lit joint on his lap while driving and crashing in to a dumpster. A Tom Waits song that was contributed to the soundtrack of Bridges’ 1992 film American Heart which was based in Seattle was covered as well for which Bridges played the keyboard and that too, quite elegantly.
The Abiders managed to remain tight throughout the show, often surpassing my expectations when it came to rhythm sections and long twangy, country-oriented guitar accents and solos. Jeff Bridges, as always, managed to remain thoroughly entertaining and well-rehearsed. Check out some recommended tunes underneath.
Recommended Jeff Bridges Tunes:
Hold on You, Everything But Love, Maybe I Missed The Point, The Quest, I Don’t Know, Slow Boat, Fallin’ and Flying and Somebody Else.
Check back soon for more music coverage by Sheikh Faraaz.
Click here for the Flickr photoset of the above images.