Father And Daughter

SALAMANCA – Well, what can be said when a guy known to play a cowboy, or a sports figure, decides to take the stage? To up the stakes, let’s say that same guy gives his daughter the opening spot for half an hour before his performance. That was the mindset just minutes before the house lights went down at the Seneca Allegany Casino’s Event Center on Saturday.

All of the trepidation, the second-guessing of what the near-packed house was going to hear started to ease as a duo walked out onto the stage. No music, no fanfare, a polite applause. That was how Lily Costner was greeted. The 27-year-old daughter of Kevin played for 30 minutes, five songs, to show that she not only bears the famous name of her father, but she is fully capable to carry her own weight with her Americana vocals.

Her performance consisted of mostly slow, emotional songs written by Felix Hatfield, with the exception of Tom Waits’ “Green Grass.” Lily Costner is more than capable of striking out on her own, getting off the stage with her father and moving into her own notoriety. I have it on good authority that there was a proud daddy backstage, watching the performance on one of the big screens.

A break took place to set up the stage for Modern West, and for countless movie sequences, more than were probably needed. We all know who Kevin Costner is, as an actor and a director. A door in the back of the house opened and the aisle between sections 100 and 102 played runway for The Postman as he made his way through adoring fans and fawning women, taking time to bend down and welcome a woman in a wheelchair, as he made his way to the stage.

The moment of truth arrived. Can he perform on a music stage as well as he does on the silver screen? This reviewer has to say he can. There were rough spots, some awkward places in a song here and there, but that can, and should, be expected by a musician who is first an actor and then a director.

One of the highlights of the night was when Lily came back out to sing “Let Me Be The One.” The work that has had to go into the song, into the live performance, the harmonization, the complimenting phrasings all brought the performance to a level that resembled something decades in the works.

Another song, one that honored the bonds of soldiers, one to another, elicited a response that not even Costner was expecting. As he sang the song “Stand Your Ground,” a hat was thrown on stage. Costner asked that the guy who threw it come and get it … he did not. Costner, after picking it up, read that it said “Combat Veteran” and his attitude visibly changed to that of a humbled man. After thanking the man, the show continued.

For those who like a Tom Petty sound, even a Bruce Springsteen vocal, Kevin Costner is an artist to check out. He and Modern West put on a solid 90-minute show, offering a good glimpse into his life, what it is that he thinks about as he travels while making movies, and what it is like to be Kevin Costner.