From what I saw and heard at the U.S. Custom House yesterday evening during the early portion of Piccolo’s Sunset Serenade concert, City Paper critic Robert Bondurant got it absolutely right with today’s review — especially the bit about featured guest musician Wycliffe Gordon’s sound check and the reaction from the big crowd along the Custom House steps and along Concord Street.
I stopped by just before 8 p.m. and caught the quick sound check and the opening numbers from conductor Scott Terrell and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, but I had to be on my way to the Cistern to catch Spoleto’s Jazz series kick-off — the Tierney Sutton Band concert. I also caught Piccolo organizer Ellen Dressler-Moryl, the head of the Office of Cultural Affairs, as she and Mayor Joe Riley shared the podium and the mutual compliments. Riley sounded particularly proud of Terrell and the CSO, remarking, “At the center of this arts community is the Charleston Symphony-Orchestra … We have in Charleston the best symphony-orchestra in the country, and tonight allows us the opportunity to be moved, enriched, and inspired by them.” Amen, Mayor brother.
Just before splitting for the CofC venue, I managed to briefly greet the pinstripe-clad Wycliffe Gordon with a “Thanks so much for coming to Charleston, Mr. Gordon” as he approached the back stage area in the lot next to the Custom House. A few fans politely hurried over to greet him, too, and, luckily, he was totally cool about it. —TBL
(photos by T. Ballard Lesemann)