Area residents were treated to a healthy dose of the healing power of love Friday evening.
The nearly 800 people who decided to brave the cold to catch Jim Brickman's performance at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts were warmed by an intimate portrayal of music gleaned straight from the heart.
Brickman's performance, which was part of his Love Tour, included a hand-picked selection of tunes from his 20-year legacy as a touring musician and recording artist. From hits such as "Love of My Life," "Valentine" and "Simple Things," to personal favorites like "Rocket to the Moon," "Timeless" and "Carnivale;" Brickman's lineup covered all the bases - including the jingles and the lullabies.
Jim Brickman is pictured performing at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts as part of his Love Tour.
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
Yet, Brickman's showmanship didn't begin and end with piano and vocals, rather comedy and conversation bridged the gap between artist and audience. Akin to a true gentleman, Brickman put the audience's experience at the forefront.
"We're doing a sort of back to the basics kind of thing," Brickman said. "It's a one man show, storyteller vibe. So, the size of the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts suits that. You're not too far away, and it's not too big that you can't connect - it's a very intimate show."
Even though Jamestown is two hours from Brickman's house in Cleveland, he's never been to the area other than to ski at Peek'n Peak or to perform at Chautauqua Institution, he said.
"It's so odd because it's so charming," Brickman said. "In the old days when I got my start my career was mostly founded on my relationship with radio. And, this morning was like the way it used to be - they played songs that I hadn't heard on the radio in forever. They were so welcoming, so kind and they had a lot of fun with me. So, I was there for like three hours, which never happens anymore. Even the mayor, Sam Teresi, came."
Before the show began, Brickman met with several area residents in the green room who had won tickets to the show from SE93. One of the families who met personally with Brickman includes the Sposatos. According to Lydia Sposato, a junior at Jamestown High School who brought classmate Chris Bradshaw with her to the show, she and Chris both play instruments and were thus interested in seeing Brickman's piano skills.
"He's really talented," Sposato said. "I play piano, and Jim asked me if I play any of his songs, but I don't so I might start now. He's famous, so hearing him, seeing him and then actually getting to meet him in person was really exciting."
However, it wasn't only area residents who attended the show, some folks from Brickman's home state of Ohio also made it out. Brad Pokosh, his wife, Tricia, and stepson, Jacob Paff, drove four hours from Mt. Vernon for the Brickman experience.
"We've been fans of Jim Brickman for many years, and we were actually on his first cruise back in 2006," Pokosh said. "'Lake Erie Rainfall' is my favorite Jim Brickman song because it's from one of his first albums and it always catches my attention."
The family was sure glad they made it, especially because Brickman played Pokosh's favorite tune, "Lake Erie Rainfall." But, the experience was also particularly emotional for Tricia and her son, Jacob, as she had played Brickman's album "The Gift" during his birth. Jacob has grown to be a bit of an aspiring musician himself, and hopes to begin taking piano lessons soon.
"I'm very excited to see Jim Brickman tonight because I like listening to his music in the car on and CD," Jacob said. "I really like the sound of piano a lot - it's very relaxing."
In addition to Jamestown, Brickman's Love Tour is set to bring him to venues around the nation. For more information, or a listing of upcoming performances, visit www.jimbrickman.com.
The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts is located at 116 E. Third St. in Jamestown. The historic theater features live entertainment on a regular basis. For more information, visit www.reglenna.com.