Neville Brothers on fire |

Neville Brothers on fire

Cassie Pence
AE Neville Bros.1 SM 3-13 Shane Macomber/

BEAVER CREEK – It was literally standing room only for the Neville Brothers Saturday night at the Vilar Center.Volunteers ushered late-comers down into the orchestra pit, the area directly in front of and below the stage. I’m not sure if Vilar has ever done this before, but I applaud them for the idea. Boogying to the Nevilles in the pit with other funk revelers felt more like I was at a Crescent City bar than a mountain theater – minus the usual bar annoyances like smoke and fumbling drunks, of course. Then add in the professional acoustics of the Vilar and you have my favorite concert to date at the Beaver Creek theater.

The pit’s energy attracted women wearing glitzy tanks from their ticketed seats to come down and watch the New Orleans legends at eye level with the stage. Impossible to resist the musical fire, other audience members gave up, stood up and danced in the aisles. I’ve never seen the Nevilles live before, and what impressed me most was how well each member could sing. Their vocal harmonies raised goose bumps on my arms. Aaron Neville’s voice hits angelic chords. The night’s percussion, led by Cyril Neville, was tribal, dramatic and body moving.

The band did a good job at mixing up their romantic hits with their groovier tunes to keep the audience intrigued. When the slower songs did sound, couples paired off in the pit to dance cheek to cheek. My show heated up to boiling when they played “Fire on the Bayou.”As all encores should, the last two songs stole the show. First, Aaron belted out a spine tickling solo of “Amazing Grace.” The pit crowd was swaying and wide-eyed. The rest of the band filed back on stage to finish the show with Bob Marley’s “One Love,” a song with a message that will never expire.

But the best part of the show was the standing, dancing room only. It was definitely the best (non)seat in the house.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or

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