On March 15, 2014, Jim Brickman celebrated a monumental achievement in his career; 20years to the date, he released his first album, No Words. Twenty years later, Jim Brickman stepped foot on stage for the first time at the Stanley Center for the Arts, bringing along more than 33 best-selling albums, dozens of collaborations with the top artists in the business, numerous awards and achievements, and multiple projects under his belt to share with the audience. Utica was thankfully chosen for his special occasion and the performance shared by all was truly heartfelt.
Opening the evening with “The Promise,” a musical piece from his Simple Things album, his beautiful playing drew in the audience and set the mood for the evening with a light and airy feeling. He shared moments throughout of how the music came to be, joked about things that occurred over the years, and by the end of the evening, it was as though it was a small room filled with friends and family, celebrating a very special anniversary. Below, Jim shares how he came to record his first album, and you see how fate sometimes plays a hand in the avenues taken in life.
Jim was joined throughout the evening by special guests Anne Cochran, a childhood friend from his hometown in Cleveland, Ohio, and George Perris, a young man originally from Greece who has been performing worldwide since the age of 14. Jim shared childhood stories of how he and Cochran became acquainted. His memories and admiration for her still hold true today as they have remained friends and co-workers now for several decades. This was apparent as they bantered back and forth with each other throughout the evening like brother and sister. Cochran has collaborated on several numbers and shows with Jim, of which they performed one of their most popular of the evening, “After All These Years.” Perris was then introduced and impressed the audience with not only his knowledge of music and amazing talent, but his ability to speak multiple languages as well; four in total. Joining Jim onstage for multiple numbers and a “selfie” of the three of them, Perris amused and enchanted the audience.
I have always been a big fan of Jim Brickman over the years as he has written two of my favorite songs of all time: “Valentine” and “The Gift.” I have listened to him on the weekends on his radio show, and it was nice to hear some personal stories on his road to success. His influences from Jim Henson and those from Walt Disney effected his love of music and the styles he would perfect over the years. I have to say that his performances of the Muppets and Disney tunes were my favorites of the evening; perhaps because they were light-hearted and fun, perhaps because I knew the tunes such as “It’s Not Easy Being Green”, “Rainbow Connection”, or “When You Wish Upon a Star”, or perhaps because they were some of my favorite tunes growing up and they brought me back to a time when life was simple. It was nice to connect with a musician on a level of commonality, even if it’s just a love of the same type of music.
For those who may not realize this, Jim has offered his musical talents to numerous shows, commercials, and events. One event he spoke of was the 2014 Sochi Olympics. As he played the numbers he wrote for the Olympics, he joked that some music is often used as background to narrations and sometimes for sad stories even. As humble as he is, he still gets excited though to hear his music when it plays out in public places. One such moment was as he was on hold with a credit card company. Upon calling in to fix a credit card issue, he waited patiently, listening to his music, until the customer service operator came on the line. As impressed as he was with himself, unfortunately the person on the other end didn’t share the same excitement as he joked about listening to himself on hold. A more recent occurrence happened as he was traveling through an airport and heard his music playing while he took a pit stop. Wanting to share his excitement with others, he thought better of it as perhaps that wasn’t the time or place to share that information. It was stories such as these that bring such huge performers and stars into a perspective that is relatable with their audiences. Again, the stories, jokes, and insights are what make Jim Brickman the star he is today and continue to build the relationship he fosters with his followers. His talent and generosity provide opportunity to give back to his audiences worldwide, while his appreciation and gratitude are genuine.
As mentioned above, Jim’s career has garnered multiple albums with multiple hits over the years. His musical compositions and songwriting skills have elevated him to a level of expertise as one of the greats of our era. At the same time, it was nice to see such an approachable, easy-going, and humorous individual on stage and in person. He goes out of his way to remain approachable to his fans by sponsoring cruises and parties. This years event, Brickman’s Bash, will be held in Cleveland, Ohio on July 17th-20th.
Although this was the first time Jim Brickman visited The Stanley Center for the Arts, I have a feeling it will become a permanent stop on each tour.