Concert Review: The Blues Is Alright Tour 2007 - Marvin Candy Licker Sease, Mel Waiters, Shirley Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Floyd Taylor, Johnnie Taylor Revue (March 2, 2007 ~ Columbus, Ohio)
The Blues Is Alright Tour 2007 arrived in Columbus stop number 10 on a scheduled 19 city tour ended in Columbus, Ga, March 25Th loaded with the veterans of soul to set Columbus and the Palace Theatre on fire. Mission accomplished and we've not seen the end of the noise yet. Young entrepreneur Julius C. Lewis (my maiden name-no relation) hooked this lineup up so it is alive and jumping right out the shoot. Chatting with him briefly afterwards he is a young black man on a mission. I certainly intend to keep close tabs on this brother to encourage him to draw close to Professor Bob Davis and the international Soul-Patrol community. Those of you who know anything about me know I'm about being about it and doing it on a win win premise.
Anyway: It do be about the show. Believe it or not everything was on time, tight, polished, professional and off the enjoyment scale. Opener was the ever young and athletic Bobby Rush. Bobby treated the men to eye candy with singer/dancers who gave got it so hot up in there the management had to put on the air condition. Next came Theodis Ealey who did his thing. Handsome, sexy Latimore told the young men to do it right "so you don't have to be all up in there all night!"
Then came young Floyd Taylor and his Johnnie Taylor Revue), Floyd paid homage to his dad and his dad's best friend Tyrone Davis. Floyd did a medley of both men's famous hits and entertained us with some of his own. I personally had the pleasure of meeting Johnny in Harlem years ago so it was a double pleasure for me to see and hear his lookalike son. And yes-- Floyd got his daddy's pipes if y'all wondering. The man can "sang."
The entire lineup was a phenomenal treat. Marvin "Candy Licker" Sease, Mel Waiters, Shirley Brown and the incomparable Bobby "Blue" Bland. All the favorites, all the juke jumpin, stompin in the middle of the building show stoppers. Folks got to feeling good after a few libations and were hand dancing in the aisles, men and women cried, laughed, shouted, got up out they seats and moved--some of 'em got to running! Hands stayed up in the air applause broke out unexpectedly, men shouted and women swooned. It was truly a sight to be seen. Sometimes it was hard to tell if I was at a blues convention or Sunday night at church.
My personal was my girl Shirley Brown. Powerful presence. Shirley Brown's pipes are as good today as they were 30 years ago. Mami ain't lost nothing. Beautiful, versatile, knows how to work her stuff ... she did a little dis a little dat but when she sang her signature tune it was truly a show stopper. The Lady wrapped up her modern day version of Woman To Woman with a reminder to the audience to be grateful for those of us who are still topside. She reminded us of the recent passing of many of the greats and the audience grew silent as she mentioned a few. Then she ordered her band to give her some "being thankful" music and I tell you it was church all up in there and wasn't nobody "shame" to let the world know they were grateful to be alive. Shirley danced, almost in the manner of a Shirley Cesar exit when The Caravans was in their heyday, right off into the wings.
People were still on their feet right where Shirley left them when.... Almost imperceptibly yet seamlessly the incomparable Mr. Bland appeared. There was a hush and then a roar as the spotlight hit him. There he was, smiling, hand slung upon the shoulder of a body guard ... he was ushered, ever so gently to the center of the stage where he was assisted in taking his seat. No body cared. They were still applauding and standing. I was screamin at the top of my lungs, Bobby! It's Bobby Bland, Oh my Lord I'm seeing a true in the flesh legend. .Bobby Bland received a standing ovation--before he opened his mouth. Oh he sang everything we wanted to hear. It seemed he wasn't on stage long enough. I was very close to the stage. He appeared to have difficulty catching his breath. He rested often, holding the mike toward the audience encouraging us to sing along. He smiled. I thought I caught the glint of a tear at one point. He continued to sing. He asked us if we minded "helping him?" every now and then. He missed an intro and said softly "Well I guess I'll start over." He asked us if we cared? Hell no. Half the audience didn't even realize he missed the intro!
The consummate showman he is he paced himself to allow for rare glimpses of the Bobby Bland we all know and love. He received a standing ovation upon his arrival and at his departure. I was grateful to see and hear this great blues man. I cannot shake the overbearing feeling that we may not have this gift of his presence much more.
Energetic, athletic, funny Mel Waiters did all his favorites too and even admonished the audience to "tell the whole truth when you tell somebody about Mel" indicating that what he does for a living has nothing to do with him abandoning his gospel roots and his relationship to God. He, like Shirley, took us to church--whether we wanted to go or not.
A common thread that seemed to run throughout the entire evening, Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out" had everybody on they feet. So did the other artists throughout the production. Each act had their own musicians, vocalists, dancers --something I've never seen in a production of this kind. What I did see was the overall comfort each performer enjoyed as they moved in and out of their programs with ease. Evident the entire thing is quite expensive to produce and hectic to keep moving on the schedule set forth.
Happy and pleased to have had the pleasure to rep Soul-Patrol Columbus. What an event. I am only sorry that some of our very own Soul-Patrol artists were not in the mix. That's something that needs corrected as it ain't like SPN can't hold it down. I've just not figured out what is not going on in Columbus. However it was a fun night. I'm making plans now to be with all of you and partying till the sun comes up with all y'all in Philly in a few short minutes.
Peace love and The Blues Is Alright ..... JeannieB
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