A Butterfly in the Sky
Dare I say: HOOTIE without the BLOWFISH. Yes! Darius Rucker's new solo record "Back To Then" was released July 30th and is definitely worth running out to get. His performance on Saturday, 7/27 (practically in my own backyard right here in Green Valley, NV) at the Whisky Sky Ampitheater, (Las Vegas) NV, was bright with heart and soul. His first couple songs were oozing with classic groove, rhythms, and jazzy influence of sounds remnant of the Commodores, Billy Preston, and Sly & the Family Stone, yet all with the FRESHNESS of Darius today. His new music was filled with voluptuous sounds of brass with a strong back up vocal team, and a brilliant duet with DeAndrea Foster ("Dee Dee"). Most memorable was his performance of "Let me be your butterfly" - He lifted my heart as I could almost see the imaginary rose petals fluttering from my soul. Midway through the show he picked up the acoustic guitar for one HOOTIE song "Let Her Cry" - and of course I did. Sometimes music just has that special effect.
It was a wonder to me how most everyone stayed seated throughout the show. I could hardly stand not to dance so I got up out of my seat and went over atop a grassy ampitheater hill and danced through the rest of the show, arms wide open and high in the sky. I couldn't imagine a more beatiful backdrop in Nevada for a show than what we saw from the Whisky Sky Ampitheater - the pink, gold, & silver sunset over the mountains, palm trees, and a glittering colorful Las Vegas skyline with all the Las Vegas city lights aglow... and of course the very awe that Darius Rucker shared in seeing his name GIANTLY broadcast on the Green Valley Ranch Hotel marquis. "Man, I'm in Vegas!" he proudly said - where he hopes to retire at age 55 and spend his days celebrating [and perhaps doing more celebrity golf matches].
Saturday's event was not only a premiere of his new music, but also a benefit show for the Lili Claire Foundation. Darius and friends, with celebrity host, Shari Bellafonte (primary supporter of the foundation), raised funds through ticket and auction sales including items as Mohammed Ali's signed gloves and shorts (went for almost $3000), Wayne Gretsky's hockey stick & signed photo (went for almost $2000), several gift baskets of TV show collectibles w/ signed scripts, photos, videos, and more, resort vacations and many other donated gifts. Proceeds will go to the construction and administratoin of the residential and training facility at UNLV. According to UNLV Dept. of Education, Dean - Gene Hall, "The facility will be linked to the UNLV department of Special Education in a partnership to provide training programs for children with Williams Syndrome, as well as provide a link to UNLV teacher education programs and research associated with the training and Williams Syndrome." For more updates about "Hootie...without the Blowfish" I mean Darius Rucker, go to DARIUS RUCKER.COM.
Photographs © 2002 Stephen Danelian Posted/printed by permission of Hidden Beach Records
Written by Melanie Silos
© 2002 New Moon Publishing & Consulting/Melanie Silos