Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Graham Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tommy Emmanuel stole the spotlight Thursday, Nov. 5 with his performance at Macky Auditorium on the University of Colorado campus. That night, his first performance in Boulder, was one stop of many on his stateside tour, which will carry through until the end of February. Although he gave the audience the experience of a lifetime, he too took part in a night he likely won’t soon forget. Emmanuel was exposed to the free-spirited vibe that this musical crossroad of a town prides itself on, and the dynamic energy in the room did not go unnoticed.
Before the show started, the crowd sluggishly found their seats with the help of a few too many ushers. They walked beneath Macky’s walls, which are lined with clover carvings featuring large bulbs in the center that ooze yellow light through the entire auditorium. One spotlight was set on upon a single mic placed on center stage. The lights gradually dimmed, enlarging the shadows that resided in crevices of the room, leaving the crowd mute. Then, from the darkness of the stage, appeared Emmanuel with guitar in hand, greeted by a roar from the audience.
Emmanuel received his first guitar at the age of 4, and that’s when the Australian native began his journey to becoming one of the world’s most respected and talented guitar players to date. Throughout the making of his legacy, the Aussie has acquired a number of accolades: several awards and honors from Guitar Player magazine, a membership in the Order of Australia from the queen, two Grammy nominations, two ARIA Awards and a performance at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney Australia.
The accomplished guitarist captivated the audience with his impressive playing and naturally entertaining persona. Emmanuel produced an array of sounds from his guitar that are not commonly experienced. Utilizing every inch of his instrument, Emmanuel was able to create a melody, rhythm and heavy bass simultaneously — a class-act showing of masterful modern guitar playing.
Emmanuel’s insane finger-picking captivated the crowd. Successfully blending genres such as jazz, blues, classical, latin, rock, country and a hint of folk, Emmanuel put forth a sound of his own.
On top of his one-of-a-kind guitar talent, the Aussie also possesses an overwhelming set of percussive skills. Putting that talent to work, Emmanuel went on a 3 minute “drum” solo, using only a jazz wire brush and his guitar. He produced a shaking bass sound by slapping the strings, accompanied by the scraping of the worn-down furnish on his axe, plucking its frets and knocking on the sides of its body — he embodied the talents of a professional drummer. The performance probably would have even had made an impression on drum legends Buddy Rich and Neil Peart.
To follow Emmanuel more closely, visit his website http://tommyemmanuel.com/.