Richland, WA. January 18, 2005.
A concert review by Scubatodd (MF Forum screen name).
Excerpted from it's original appearance on the Maynard Ferguson Forum

I am not certain what happened - the day before the concert ticket sales were just over 500.

Over 1200 people attended the concert that night. We have just over 100,000 in the community. Not bad... not bad at all!

Importantly, from the comments I heard and the reactions I saw, I think about half those in attendance had not ever seen or heard of M.F. before. (I.E. Parents of the high school kids, and younger brothers and sisters...)

As M.F.Horn6 wrote earlier about Seattle - the band played the usual line up. However, "Wine and Roses" was apparently not on the agenda yesterday... we didn't get to hear it.

The last concert I attended was in Las Vegas last year. Therefore, many new players in the band this gig.

Ji Young Lee- monster pianist. Really quite remarkable in all aspects. Her extended work on "but beautiful" was really lovely...

Sax - Stone and Monterry are interesting players, and thier solo styles dichotomize each other. A good variety. Enjoyable throughout the evening.

Watkins was consistent as usual. Interesting to note that the chart line-up didn't have much to feature him in any extended solos...

Stockton thrilled the audience with his solos during "Girl from Ipanema" and a great moment occurred...

As usual, M.F. and the band split stage right to allow Stockton to do his thing with an extended solo. Right at the start of the solo, the cymbal (high splash) on Stockton's right falls to the floor. Kaaathunk-crash! For whatever reason, M.F. and Watkins see this thing fall, cross all the way over the stage, and spend (literally) the latter part of Stockton's entire solo trying to figure out how to get the cymbal stand to stay "up." It keeps falling back down... the friction lock is clearly not working... they put it up, it falls down... up...down...

Stockton is quite musical on the tubbs at this point... but through the dim light you could see M.F. and Watkins scratching their heads and talking like a couple of engineers trying to figure this thing out... it keeps slowly sinking back to its lowest position and Stockton cannot use the thing... meanwhile he's banging away using all his other gear in a romping solo...

Well, the audience now can really see M.F. and Watkins in thier quandary because of the ambient light given from the solo spot on Stockton. M.F. and Watkins are looking confused... hands in the "beats me!" position... they converse... a few more tries... and the band is coming back on because Stockton is about to finish. More head-scratching and chin stroking by the Boss and Watkins... the damn thing just WILL NOT stay elevated! Time and time again they try to adjust this thing... @#%$!

Finally Watkins gives the thing some sort of bang on the floor and tries to tighten it again... this time it appears to work and keeps in the extended "up" position. Stockton is heating up the tempo of his solo....romp romp romp....

M.F. points to the spot where the cymbal goes... we can see this through the ambient light of the spotlight on Stockton, Watkins "sneaks" back to the Stockton, who is really drumming around the tubs now furiously...

In the semi darkness, Watkins gingerly and sloooooowwwly sneakily sllllllliiiiiiiides the high splash cymbal back in place.... WOW- Stockton is really blazing now... round and round and really kicking.... romp romp romp.... and suddenly... everything STOPS.

Dead silence. Stockton has STOPPED his solo before it is done. The audience does not applaud, they know he has literally stopped mid-stream... they are all shocked.

Dead silence. 1200 plus people dead quiet, you can hear a slight "hiss" from the speaker stacks, and Watkins freezes.

He's frozen....hands still on the troublesome cymbal stand, just putting it into place. Caught in Stockton's spotlight. Stockton looks at Watkins. Watkins is "caught" red handed. He is the deer in the headlights. Time stands still....

Stockton stares at Watkins, who is crouching amist the drum rack and other cymbal stands... slowly does a double take to the boss, looks over at the band who are all watching now.... and looks out at all of us... nobdy is moving... time is standing still....

Stockton gives a smug look, shakes his head in mock disgust, leans over to Watkins and the cymbal, gives one pathetic and rigidly unmusical "plink" on the cymbal that stole the show right out from under his remarkable solo, pauses......and suddenly furiously picks up romping around and around the rack again....!

The audience went frigging wild of course... FRIGGING WILD! Boss LOVED it! Boss started clapping, doubled over with laughter, grabbed Watkins and shoved him back to his place by the sax... Stockton finished and the band rode out the head... man they were tight last night.

An excellent moment.

Anyhow, as I indicated before at least half of the 1200 people had clearly not seen or heard MF live, and the Boss was cracking the usual jokes. He got quite an ovation for his "Ain't no sunshine TILL she's gone," indicating it was a song about his "first wife."

Also, the audience really appreciated his "Now it's time for the M.F. Medley... M.F. stands for my initials by the way..." Many cheers from the younger ones, of course.

Another moment- one of the Boss' trumpet stands managed to break last night or so something funky. It would not hold the Monette upright. This was in between songs when M.F. was switching horns, and he kicked the thing a bit... it swayed back and forth... back and forth... really unusual for a stand... baaack and forth....

So M.F. begins swaying along with it... gripping the middle of his mike stand as a reference point. Band is laughing... so are we... back and forth....

Finally the stand flounders and falls limply over....

M.F. stares at it for a moment and comments "that's what happens when you get older..." or something to that effect. Band can't stop laughing... and we are cheering, of course... M.F. tried to count off the tune but the band was still laughing... so M.F. turns to the audience and gives this fake "take" of a laugh along with us... then suddenly turns stone cold sober and gives us the old "cut" signal at the neck level. This only brought more laughter and cheers, of course.

M.F. got back to business and finished the gig.

Seemed to me during the "Stratospheric" people were citing "Man of the Hour" and such... so here's my take...

I've seen Patrick Hession over the past couple of years get stronger, and he was just SO STRONG last night. Really- high, long, and loud all night long. He was as solid during the Hit Medly as I've seen him in several performances....

People were actually "ooh"ing and "ahh"ing as Patrick began to rip off the dubbas... and everyone in front of me (hundereds) were shaking thier heads in disbelief at one time or another... looking at each other and laughing and cheering him on... I think it was the high school trumpet players who were putting thier hands over thier faces and shaking thier heads...

I really had to laugh when several of the younger generation stood up after Patrick was finished. They stood and pointed at the celing with both arms fully extended upward, index fingers and pinkys extended, then slapping fives... I thought for a moment I was back at a Iron Maiden concert or something... damn it was funny!

Anyhow Patrick was on last night, and he was the Man of the Hour with the crowd to be certain.

Aside from all the laughter, posturing from M.F., solid playing from the BBN, and courtesy from Mike and Ed, my favorite moment of the evening?

When the 12 or 13-year-old in front of me turned to his dad after "But Beautiful" and said "WOW DAD! That was REALLY COOL! This is GREAT!"

Thank God for M.F. and his BBN and crew for introducing the young ones to the ultimate music genre...