My dad and I saw Kenny at the Innsbrook Pavilion in the northern suburbs of Richmond, Virginia on April 29, 2009. The weather was cold and windy but the rain stayed away all night.
With general seating, it's always best to arrive several hours early. But at Innsbrook, you get the added treat of not only listening to Kenny rehearse with his band, but also watching from the parking lot. When the gates opened for VIPs, I figured the front row would be filled, but to my surprise after sprinting across the field we sat front and only a little off center. Of course, that put us very close to the stage speakers but we came prepared with earplugs. After Kenny's performance in the Birchmere last July that left our ears ringing for a week, it was more relaxing to bring the band and crowd volume down so we could hear the vocals more clearly.
Kenny mentioned near the start of the show that the weather was conducive to dancing with Gopher from Caddyshack. That was Gopher's cue to climb out of his backpack so he could dance through the concert including his theme song. Kenny started out the show with Danny's Song and Pooh Corner which warm you up when you sing along. Then he woke us up with Conviction of the Heart and A Year's Worth of Distance. I was very happy to hear his next selection of The Real Thing with my dad beside me. That song, along with The One That Got Away (which he performed at Birchmere) and I Don't Want to Hate You Anymore have helped immensely to heal an emotional rift going back over 30 years to when my parents divorced. I thoroughly appreciate Kenny's wisdom for not only understanding what kids go through in a divorce, but also giving the parent's perspective in a way that snaps you out of your contempt for the one who broke up the family. Celebrate Me Home was a great follow-up song to celebrate how well my dad and I get along now.
Kenny also displayed his amazing vocal talent with his version of dueling banjos in which his voice copied the guitar rifts to perfection. He performed his hip hop version of This is It followed by I'm a Free Man Now. Then it was time to go back to the past for Angry Eyes and a guitar solo into the chorus of Vahevala before Your Mama Don't Dance.
Finally, Gopher got his chance to shine as he danced to I'm Alright on a new set of batteries. In the first encore, Kenny kept our hearts pumping and feet tapping with Don't Fight It, Danger Zone and Footloose. In his second encore, he performed Forever which took on special meaning this time as my 70-year old dad put his arm around me and I thought about my mom who died 3 years ago. This song is a tribute to parent-child bonding that sustains us through life transitions and final goodbyes.
With energy to spare, Kenny graciously posed with us and Gopher at the meet-and-greet after his phenomenal show. Thanks Kenny!!