Campbell was the same funny, relaxed, charismatic guy he's always been, and his fingers still rolled out those smooth Stratocaster lines that took songs along winding instrumental roads before graceful resolution. Or, as Campbell humorously acknowledged after a particularly nuanced solo, “I've got a few licks left — I've been practicing.”ADDED: I thought this was extremely interesting, in People Magazine:
Those roads were rockier, though; throughout the hour-and-a-half set, his fingers at times stumbled, as did his mind, which on a few occasions lost track of lyrics on the TelePrompTer, and, in banter between a number of songs, absent-mindedly dwelled on a particular quote from Minnie Pearl. “I'm proud to be here,” he said, before adding, “I'm proud to be anywhere.”
Those details are offered not to shine light on the darkness, but to offer an environment in which to illuminate the beauty and warmth at the heart of the evening, and to better appreciate the inexhaustible spirit that runs through certain mortals, despite the odds. The fumbles on Thursday didn't detract from, but added to, the wonder of it all, because the misfires were inevitably followed by long runs of chrome-toned solos... It's a real thing, the superhighway that connects Campbell's muse to his fingertips....
The magic was in the way Campbell, his family, and the crowd, many of whom had grown up with the singer, respected the muse despite its decaying state. How they defiantly, beautifully kept that conduit to the sublime open wide enough to deliver a clear, honest message about both the important and unimportant things, about how one becomes another as time passes.
"I have Alzheimer's?" he asks Kim, 53, his wife of 29 years... "Well, doggone ... what's that?" Kim gently reminds him that it's the reason he's been having trouble remembering things, but Campbell prefers a different explanation.... "God just cleared a lot of things out... It was crowded up there. I've been trying to get rid of that crap for years."