As I wandered through the crowd following our 425 Live event, A Concert and Conversation with Peter Buffett, I overheard a lot of audience members saying things along the lines of “It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting.”
The expressions on their faces didn’t indicate disappointment, rather I witnessed what I perceived to be wonder and revelation.
“Talking to people who have seen the show… I think (the audience) feels opened up and they’re thinking about how they’re behaving inside their world,” Buffett told me before the show.
Buffett opened the latest leg of his world-wide series at the Kirkland Performance Center Thursday night. The Emmy Award winning musician led off with an instrumental song he composed entitled Searching for a Place Called Home accompanied by cellist Michael Kott before sharing anecdotes and photographs from his childhood.
“I was considered normal,” Buffett told the audience of his upbringing in Omaha, Nebraska where he lived with his siblings, mother, and now-famous father, billionaire Warren Buffett.
As a child, Buffett and his siblings were completely unaware of their father’s wealth; the Buffett children lived in a modest home only three blocks from their mother’s childhood home, they went to public school, and they had sleepovers at their house like any other mid-west children.
“The front third (of the show) is mostly just kind of funny and anecdotal about growing up and stuff,” Buffett said of the show’s pace. “The middle part is around life choices, then the heavy stuff comes at the end.”
After fielding various audience questions about his mother and his passions for music and photography, Buffett switched gears, the conversation seamlessly evolved into heavy topics around the effect of westward expansion on Native American tribes and the prevalence of human trafficking.
“It is fun because it works better,” he said of the show’s natural progression. “You loosen everyone up and they get comfortable and then you hit them with a little reality.”
Don’t get me wrong, Buffett’s heavy subject matter is not meant to shock and awe his audience, rather he said he hopes people walk away from his show with some kind of introspection.
“It depends on who they are,” he told me, insisting each member of the audience would feel differently about the content.
“If they are a parent they’d be thinking about how the world should be for their kids, are they dictating the future as opposed to letting the kid turn into whatever (they) are going to be?” he postulated. “Or if they are a business person are they thinking too much about the bottom line as opposed to how they are treating people inside or outside their business?”
It hardly seemed possible to leave the Kirkland venue without some kind of personal epiphany, but on the rare occasion this happens, Buffett hopes those individuals at least enjoyed the music. “If nothing else, Michael is always a blast to watch play the cello,” he said.
The next 425 Live event will be our Startup Stories event at the Bellevue Club on Oct 6. The evening will include stories of launch, grind, and growth from dynamic business men and women on the Eastside. The line up includes Kurt Dammeier of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Margo Engberg of Pinkabella Cupcakes, Jamie Hsu of Lakeville Homes and Lucas and Lauren Mack of 4th Avenue Media.