Kevin Costner, Modern West and Lily Costner Perform: Boston 5/7/09

May 7, 2009
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Kevin CostnerDances With WolvesBull Durham. The Bodyguard. The Untouchables. Field of Dreams. Waterworld. Thirteen Days. Message In a Bottle. Dragonfly. Mr. Brooks. “If you build it, they will come.”

In his three decades in film, Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner has brought some of the most memorable moments to the silver screen.  In Bull Durham and Tin Cup, Costner is comedic, sensitive and sexy.  In The Bodyguard, he is mature, focused and in love.  In The Untouchables, he is driven and righteous. And in Dances With Wolves, he is reborn.

Not one to be typecast, the roles that Kevin Costner has portrayed are as diverse as the films he has acted in.  Costner is a producer and Oscar-winning director and in addition to his very active acting career, Costner has taken his love for music to the next level and fronts his own band.

Long passionate about music, Kevin Costner recently brought together a few old friends and musicians and they formed Kevin Costner & Modern West.  Last fall, Kevin Costner & Modern West released their debut CD, Untold Truths.  The 12-song CD has a country feel to it and Kevin Costner & Modern West has been nominated for a 2009 CMT Wide Open Country Video of the Year award for its video ‘Backyard’ Kevin Costner (2)

For the past few months, Kevin Costner has been in Boston filming The Company Men, co-starring Tommy Lee Jones and Ben Affleck.  A few weeks ago, I spotted Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner taking a stroll through the Boston Common with their little girls.  Having heard that Kevin Costner was back in town filming, I had hoped I might have an opportunity to find the filming location and get some photos.  Failing that, I planned to see Kevin Costner & Modern West later in the week performing at Showtime Live at Patriot Place in Foxboro, Mass.

I went to see Kevin Costner & Modern West, knowing nothing about their music.  My motivation for going was really about seeing Kevin Costner.  He’s one of my favorite actors, and when else would I have an opportunity to be in the same room with him for 90 minutes?  Armed with my camera and mental pen, I had hoped to have a good time and to get a few photos.  And on both counts, I was not disappointed.

Kevin Costner & John CoinmanI was originally seated about 100 feet from the stage, but I noticed that there were a few women milling around at the front of the stage in an area where there weren’t any tables or chairs.  I asked a waitress if I was allowed to go up to stand at the stage too, and she said yes.  No invitation required!  I gathered up my camera and walked up to the front of the stage and stood with the other mostly 40+year old women gathered at the center where Kevin Costner presumably would be standing.  I felt like such a groupie.  However, groupie or not, I had a place at the stage, about 5 feet to the right of Kevin’s mic.  Pretty perfect considering I thought my photos would be from far away!

As the show was about to begin, on the back of the wall a video montage started to play.  The audience watched as clip after clip, some of Kevin Costner’s greatest moments on screen played before us.  Kevin Costner (7)We laughed, we cheered, we clapped, we whistled, and I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it must be for Costner to be able to watch the audience, his fans, react to his films.  For nearly 30 years, Kevin Costner has put his face before us, and rarely has he had an opportunity to see our reactions to his collective body of work.  I loved the montage, and it was a great way to pay tribute to and show respect for this accomplished actor and filmmaker.

When Modern West came on stage, everyone was cheering.  But when Kevin Costner stepped out of the shadows, the audience erupted with whistles and applause!  Costner tried to hush the audience but it took a good minute or two to quiet us down.  And the first thing that Costner said to the audience was a heartfelt ‘Thank you’.  Costner thanked us for coming to his movies for all these years. He thanked us for our support.  And he thanked us for coming to see his band that drove 20 hours to make an ‘off tour’ trip to to Boston so that Costner could appropriately bid us farewell (Costner just finished filming The Company Men).

Kevin Costner (13)Costner laughed a bit and he told us that he had previously made a few movies in the area.  Who could forget the scenes with James Earl Jones at Fenway Park in Field of Dreams?  As Costner stood at Patriot Place, in the shadow of New England Patriots’ Foxboro Stadium, he teased us by telling us it was time to start sharing the sports trophies with the rest of the teams.  The Celtics, the Red Sox, and the New England Patriots have had quite a run, and the audience cheered with pride!Kevin Costner 3

Kevin Costner introduced the first song to us, Red River.  And when they started singing, I was happily surprised.  They were good!  I stood there at the stage, soaking it all in.  There was a gigantic movie star on the stage, not 5 feet away from me, and yet he projected not one ounce of ego as he stood and sang with his band.  Although Costner is the front man, he performs on an equal playing field with the band. There are guitar solos and fiddle solos, and throughout it all, Costner stands back, takes it all in, and has a great time.

Kevin Costner told a little story about each song, and before each song he said, ‘you probably won’t know this one either.’ He made fun of men as he joked that they always seem to get into trouble…with women…and ‘here’s another song about that’… He shared his love of cars, that car that sits in the “Backyard” that will never leave be gone, because next to a dog, it is man’s best friend.  Costner told us about New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina in 5 Minutes From America. And he talked to us about wearing a superman cape as a kid (which he does with his guitar in one photo) as he sings Superman 14.

Every song had a story, and every story was about us.

Kevin Costner and Lily CostnerAs Kevin introduced Let Me Be The One, he said it needed to be sung by a woman and he had just the girl for the job.  He then introduced his daughter, Lily.  Lily came to the stage, guitar in hand, and together they sang Let Me Be The One .  I thought that they sang it beautifully together (see video below).

I really liked the song, and the chorus tends to stick with you long after the song is over.  When a song has a hook, then it usually has an audience.  And I hope many audiences enjoy it as much as I did!

Kevin and Lily Costner harmonized well together and, it was moving to see the two of them sing it together, father and daughter.

Throughout the evening, Costner was friendly and welcoming.  He sang well, and I really enjoyed the band.  Even though they have a bit of country sound, to me they aren’t really a ‘country’ band.  Costner is all about diversity, and I think he and Modern West will find a diverse audience enjoying their music. I enjoyed hearing them, and I had a fun time.  The music was upbeat and lively, and I would love seeing them again.

After Kevin Costner & Modern West finished their last song, Tambourine Man, Costner stayed for about 15 minutes to sign autographs. People asked him to sign ticket stubs, photos, albums, and hats, and one person even had him sign a baseball – I liked that idea!  I got some decent photos of Kevin Costner & Modern West, and in the end, I had a really nice time, sharing 90 minutes with people who really had passion for being in front of an audience doing what they enjoy.

See more photos and video below.