Buckwheat Zydeco CSPS Cedar Rapids, IA

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (February 12, 2014)   Being the house photographer for Legionarts and CSPS Hall, and as staff for livegigshots.com is about as good as it gets for someone who loves music and photography. However, sometimes this part of the gig (writing reviews) can be a real P.I.T.A. I’ve spent two days cogitating on how to do justice to the Buckwheat Zydeco concert at CSPS Hall (Wednesday night February 12th) and I still can’t come up with something that is “suitable” for a review. It’s not lack of imagination or ability on my part. The concert was just too good. You see, a review is supposed to work together with the photos to give those who didn’t attend a solid feel for what they missed.

 Zydeco is a musical style that you really have to experience to appreciate. When a master such as Buckwheat Zydeco takes the stage with his band, it’s a fay dodo* beyond compare. If you weren’t there, no amount of words will suffice. But I’m supposed to write something, so here’s the best I can come up with:

Nearly two hours of world class Zydeco. Dance. Drink. Sweat. Dance some more. Have about the best time possible with your clothes on. If you were blessed with a partner or date for the show, go home and continue to have fun with your clothes off. (I’m not kidding: if you take a date to a concert by Buckwheat Zydeco, and leave without at least an inkling of committing some hanky panky when you get home, you are either a zombie, or have listened to too much Justin Bieber recently.) Spend the next several days smiling as you hum tunes to yourself and tap your foot to the music in your head. You are even allowed to dance to that music if no one is looking.

OK, for those who are interested, some technical footnotes.

fay dodo is Cajun for dance party.

1. Buckwheat Zydeco aka Stanley Dural, Jr. is a Grammy winning artist who has achieved perhaps the greatest success of any true Zydeco artist. He and his band have toured with Eric Clapton and performed for President Clinton at both his inaugurations and at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

2. His band, consisting of his son Reginald Dural (rub board, Hammond organ) Lee Zeno (bass) Olivier Scoazec (guitar) Kevin Menard (drums) and Curtis Watson (trumpet) opened with a few songs before Buckwheat came on stage. They revved the audience up, and when they did introduce the star of the show, it reminded me of James Brown would make his entrance in concert, such was the excitement and anticipation as “The Master” came on stage.

3. Buck loves his music and loves to have fun. He performed nearly two hours of no excuses rockin’ fun Zydeco (with one “break” to play a Booker T and the MG’s instrumental with Buck on the organ). His band members have been with him at least 10 years to over 30 years, and it shows in just how flawlessly they all perform together.

4. A goodly number of people heeded Buck’s encouragement to get up and dance. He made sure everyone knew he appreciated that, and how much he enjoyed his return trip to Cedar Rapids.

5. One exceptionally cool thing about Buckwheat Zydeco is his love for children. He’s put out a couple of children’s albums (“Choo Choo Bugaloo” and “Bayou Boogie”). He was thrilled by a couple of youngsters in the audience who were constantly dancing, and at the end of the show invited them on stage to help him play a song by holding down one of the keys on his accordion.

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