Last Night in Springfield
2023-11-12, Symphony Hall, Springfield, MA
When tickets went on sale for last night’s show in Springfield, I noticed on the seating chart that the balcony seemed to wrap all the way around the side of the stage. So I took a risk and bought the absolute farthest seat over to the left. It was either going to be an amazing view, or I was going to be looking at the back of a curtain.
Thankfully, as you can see in the quick photo I snapped, it was the former. I was perched almost above Bob and the band, a little behind him given his piano’s angle, so I could easily see his fingers on the keys. Watching him play piano proved easily the highlight of the night.
As I’ve noted several times, Bob’s playing has taken huge strides this tour. He sounds great, but seeing his hands illustrates how idiosyncratic his playing remains. He never spreads his fingers much, whether by choice or necessity (his hands are 82 years old too, after all). As a result, he doesn’t really play normal piano chords. It looks like he’s hammering away with two little claws, but it doesn’t sound clunky or rudimentary. His left hand often darts left to pound out some bass notes a couple octaves down, then shoots back just as quick. And a few times his right hand slid up the keys for a beautiful high glissando. For instance, from “Most Likely You Go Your Way”:
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