Jeff Bridges isn't exactly typecast from his role as the Dude in the Big Lebowski, but it is a character he'll be remembered for as long as there are still Little Lebowski Urban Achievers out there. Sometimes, it's hard to tell where the Dude ends and Bridges begins.
But it's an image he's not necessarily quick to shake. Take for example, what he calls his band: the Abiders--inspired by a line from the film, "Yeah, well. The Dude abides."
You could see bits and pieces of the Dude on stage during Bridge's performance at the El Rey Theatre on Thursday, but of course, the audience got a whole lot more. The unofficial theme of the evening was friendship. This being a hometown show of sorts, several of his friends old, near and dear were in the audience (including his big brother Beau) and even joined him on stage (legendary producer and singer-songwriter T-Bone Burnett made a cameo!).
He would tell stories of the friends in attendance and then dedicated a song to them. When he pointed out brother Beau, he reminisced about listening to early rock records with him and stealing Beau's guitar as a kid.
Most of the songs were preceded by a story or introduction of some sort by Bridges. The tunes ranged from rockin' to bluesy, slow and introspective to jaunty. He included iconic songs from the Big Lebowski like Creedence's "Looking Out My Backdoor" and Dylan's "The Man in Me." A few Crazy Heart tunes snuck in to the set like "Fallin and Flyin" and "The Weary Kind" which made Burnett's cameos appropriate considering he was the mastermind behind both soundtracks.
He sounds different than he does on record--a bit more raspy.
Bridges was the mellow, humble dude I imagined him to be. He spent a whole song's worth of time introducing his bandmates and telling stories about them. Talk about gratitude! He even let his lap steel player name the band. Bridges was going to call it Jeff Bridges and the Royal We but the lap steel player said the reference was too obscure.
And despite the fact he was only supposed to play for an hour and 10 minutes, he ended up playing closer to two hours, ensuring fans went home satisfied with paying $50-$100 to see his royal Dudeness.
Critic's Bias: I'm a huge fan of the Big Lebowski. I once threw a hit Big Lebowski birthday bowling party that is still talked about to this day.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I peed next to T-Bone!"
The Crowd: Small, a wide range of ages and several friends of Bridges himself.
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Random Notebook Dump: The El Rey bar probably sold more Caucasians last night than any night ever.
Setlist: Somebody Else Hold On You Ring them Bells The Quest What A Little Love Can Do I Don't Know Fallin' and Flyin' Whip Van Gogh Brand New Angel Blue Car Looking Out My Backdoor Never Let Go Maybe I Missed The Point Slow Boat Man In Me
Encore: Weary Kind Rock'n Roll Star