Bela Fleck & The Flecktones
08.23.01 | Orpheum Theater | Minneapolis

Bela-issimo!! WOO-ten!! Seen the future first hand, this reporter had a Flecktacular time in Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theater on Thursday evening. With a capacity of 2600 and nearly every seat sold, the gathering tuned in for soon to be a spectacular event. Keb Mo introduced the night with lyrically creative and sometimes hidden innuendo. His perfect blues voice combined with excellent guitar work, occassionally accompanied, soothed the seated, but attentive crowd, who eventually gave multiple standing ovations throughout the night. Everyone actively participated and focused on one thing, the music. It was a pleasure to join a group of people, all ages, ceremoniously partaking in an act of such intense beauty, creativity and COMMUNICATION.

A valuable e-treer sent out an announce yesterday that held this quote in it:

"Music is the answer to the mystery of life; it is the most profound of all the arts; it expresses the deepest thoughts of life and being in simple language which nonetheless cannot be translated." Arthur Schopenhauer, (1788-1860)

This has significant meaning to all of us and especially myself directly related to this concert. Currently reading, No Boundary by Ken Wilber, consciousness has been an executive focus of mine. Trying to describe the oneness and nothingness of all that exists, and in the same time defeating its attempts, only metaphorically accomplishing what is trying to be pervaded. These thoughts came quickly and with deep inspiration during Bela and The Flecktone’s journey. These gentlemen are sound entrepreneurs, adventurers, and sages. Whatever you can find for a description of these musicians, it is intense. The band, Vic Wooten, Jeff Coffin, Futureman, and their fearless leader, Mr. Bela Fleck (by many accounts and opinions, the best banjo player, ever), played consistent, with fury and passion not only for what they were playing individually, but for each other’s talents as well as the overall sound demonstration.

The observations between the ultimate consciousness and this musical journey went as follows: Trying to reach the ultimate consciousness, which cannot be obtained, because it already is present in everything, including our search. Wilber reasons we create boundaries, like life and death, heaven and hell, happy and sad. He confers that we have no boundaries, everything already exists within us and we in everything, and we simply have applied definitions and limits to our environment, instead of freely excepting its limitless possibility. As Bela and the Flecktones played variously, both in harmony and amazing solo efforts, thoughts about the communication that I was receiving, started circulating. Thinking about this review and how to put something as indefinable as music, especially the sounds from the Flecktones, drove me insane. It’s like putting millions of years of history into a pamphlet and walking around preaching, “can’t you read,” this is existence and its past, aren’t you sold on my miniscule efforts at description. This may seem confused, which then I would be sorry for, but it makes perfect sense from its initial inception. I thought to myself, could I think of anywhere I would rather be and said no. I then asked if I am happiest I have ever been, I also said no. That is the idea of no boundary, contention. I was content and not dwelling on anything, but the present, but admittedly say it was not the most blissful moment as well. Music, itself, can be both happy and sad, but all of it is appreciated and truly admired by its listeners. So if you admire both the happy and sad, you, in my opinion escape the dualist boundary that society and history has created.

As for setlists, show length, facts of the show, and who saw Future man about 5 ft away, running around in the parking lot, grabbing things from the bus, [I must boast, because of how excited it made us all, we did. You know who you are, Nick. Jera, Adam...] go to www.flecktones.com to post messages, read reviews, introduce yourself to this powerful ensemble. This reporter took complete advantage of Bela and his messengers and now continues on to more transgression through music. (See ya at Umphrey's McGee Wednesday, funky Meters, Thursday and the House of Blues in Chicago on Saturday for the funky Meters and Soulive!!)

Mike Shearer
Minneapolis JamBaseQuarters
Go See Live Music!

[Published on: 8/26/01]

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