Holstein Eats Up Hudson Shad

by Christine Wiese

How many superlatives can I use about the performance last Saturday evening at the Clausen Center? A person could employ ten, twenty, thirty terms to describe Hudson Shad and it still wouldn’t be enough.

What a happy accident it was that when The Voca People cancelled out, Hudson Shad stepped in. These men “connect” in the best sense of the word – both with themselves and their audience. They’ve got the elusive “It” – that indefinable something that fills their listeners with a heightened sense of excitement and interweaves them into what’s going on up on stage. Pavarotti had the same magic; so did Louis Armstrong; and (Dare I say?) so did the inimitable CCR. They are quite simply superb entertainers. Oh, we’ve had great shows here before but this one was a super nova.

The joy this group takes in what they do and the pleasure they take in presenting it, is as palpable as electricity going through an open current. It transformed the crowd from an appreciative audience into the seventh member of their ensemble. I doubt “Volare” was ever sung with more gusto. Folks were both boisterous and exalted during intermission. “Best one yet.” one said. “These guys are amazing.” said another. “I haven’t enjoyed myself so much in a long, long time!” crowed yet another. A bit effusive? Maybe. But seriously on the mark.

Hudson Shad’s repertoire ranged from deeply moving as in their rendition of “Over the Rainbow” to wryly ironic when an orange was produced out of the grand piano at the close of “Valencia”. They were suitably abandoned as they bebopped their way through Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing” with strains of a muted trumpet coming from the ultimate vocal organ. And they were goofily funny in “Uncle Yuba Plays the Rhumba on the Tuba” – both English and German versions. Debonaire foolishness meshed with impeccable musicality as they added top hats and canes to their act and sang Fred Astaire’s timeless “Dancing Cheek to Cheek”. Hey – their dancing wasn’t half bad either.

The second set also included songs by states – “My Old Iowa Home”, “California, Here I Come”, “St. Louis Blues” and finally “New York New York” which (evidenced by a chorus of “Bravo! from those assembled) was the acme of crowd pleasers.

A standing ovation brought them back for what could be the most surprising encore ever – “Rawhide” sung by men in top hats and tails. Talk about your high musical artistry and wry theatrical humor. To paraphrase the great Satchmo’s classic line, “Waiter, give me shad roe.”, we’d be pleased to order another huge helping of Hudson Shad. Any night – any time.