Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers
March 27, 2022
Review by Joseph Hett
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers Are Adventurous In Augusta
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers graced the stage at the Miller Theater in Augusta on Sunday night. Hornsby and his precision band, The Noisemakers, would put on a two-hour clinic for those in attendance. There was no formal setlist – Hornsby played some predetermined songs and took a few shouted and written requests. It was an evening of diverse tunes from ballads to bluegrass and everything in-between.
Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers came out and started an instrumental jam to help warm up the band before starting with “My Resolve” (from 2020’s “Non-Secure Connection”) and “Sidelines” (from “’Flicted” due out May 27). John Mailander got the fiddle sawing for the bluegrass inspired “Candy Mountain Run.”
Whenever Hornsby got in a groove, he would start tickling the ivories while standing up. The first time this happened was during “Looking Out Any Window.” The crowd loved every moment of it. Once the song was finished, Hornsby said that was “instant composition at it’s finest.” He continued, “Put your hands down and start playing and go from there…That’s not easy but it’s good fun. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work.”
There was a written request for “20/20 Vision / Night On The Town.” The song is from 2014’s “Solo Concerts” album. After his solo piano portion, Hornsby had the band jump in to take it home – a new take on the song.
Hornsby stated they have only played Augusta once before: “We played Augusta, Georgia one time. And we played five of six songs and it just poured down rain.” (That must have been an outdoor concert in June 2017 at the Columbia County Amphitheater.) He appreciatively closed with, “So happy you all came and that you’re in an adventurous mood. Because I guess I didn’t know that I was…then I came out here and became that.”
After “Mandolin Rain,” a humorous moment happened when a guy yelled out a request for “Cruise Control.” Hornsby heard it and said, “What the f**K, let’s play that!” They then launched into the uptempo song which included a brief drum solo interlude. Next up, Hornsby, still in a jovial mood, heard someone yell out “The Way It Is.” He quipped, “I’ll play that too, what the hell.”
Hornsby came to the front of the stage and picked up a dulcimer. The highlight of this acoustic set had to be during “M.I.A. In M.I.A.M.I.” This is when another humorous part happened when Hornsby instructed the audience to sing along to the “Don Juan Shula” lyrics.
Hornsby returned to the piano for the catchy “Celestial Railroad” – originally a duet with Mavis Staples. Hornsby told a story about how listening to Leon Russell influenced him to quit his drug store job and start in the music business. They then closed out the set with “Rainbow’s Cadillac” in the style of Russell.
After a loud standing ovation brought Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers back out for the encore, they finished the evening with “Nobody There But Me.”
Bruce Hornsby is a true bandleader. He had fun keeping his band on their toes. The Noisemakers excelled at that challenge. It’s kind of nice that they are not held down by a setlist. The spontaneous nature made the show even more fun. Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers did not disappoint with their first full set in the area.