Preshow: I was drenched. Standing outside, in the cold rain, on the tickets bought line. Yes, yet another line. After about 10 minutes on line I breezed in. The security guards and the ticket guy know my face by now. They told me “When you’re in, your in-don’t come out.” Killer.
The Bowl was packed. I mean packed. As I’ve said before, The Bowl has been buzzing with electricity while Bowlive has been going on, and tonight you felt it oozing out of the walls…it has stunk of funk for the past 5 nights.
Set 1: I finally made it past the bar area onto the floor. Six Figures were on stage when I walked in. They warmed up the crowd with those brass horns and raging guitar riffs. There was a bit of room up front so there I was, earplugs in tact.
Set 2: Soulive with Marco Benevento. Now, I have heard of Marco, but have never listened to a recording. I was excited to hear what the buzz was about him, I have never been steered wrong by friends in the know. Marco plays keyboard, with a mixer on it or something and he rocks. Really rocks. Between the drowning of the keys, with Neal Evans blasting once again with his constant deep beat, and brother Alan nailing those drums in syncopation. Kofi Burbridge was cutting through that with his twinkly flute, notes bouncing off the room and its occupants. Kraz was shredding, he is so good, so fast on that guitar, it’s a little mind blowing, I have to admit.
Marco was rocking, he was standing up, head shaking back and forth. We then sailed into a Led Zeppelin tune, now there are 3 sets of keys and my notes say, “Sounds like horns. But there are no horns.” Yeppers…. this is what I have been telling you all week long. Insane.
Set 3: The London Souls come on in all their shredding glory. This was old school headbanging rock and roll Led Zep style, with a lot of crazy riffs going on. (I need to find another word for “insane”, insert your adjective <here>.) Soulive then comes out and gives their props to the 3 crazy rockers. We got another taste of the Beatles, Marco comes back on stage and for the next while we Ring-Around-The- Eleanor Rigby>I Want You>Eleanor Rigby -Rosey. Whoo, boys, the heat just went up another 10 degrees. The next thing I know, there are 12 people on stage, with Nigel, the London Souls, Alan is playing conga, at least 5 horns and Neal, Marco and Nigel going insane (ah, there’s that word), on the keys. The crowd was rowdy, dancing, smiling, aware of what we were witnessing. Brooklyn Bowl, kinda like the Mothership, yet with a bowling alley, and we were floating up into new lands filled with music. Beautiful.
I notice that everyone was about to leave the stage when Oteil Burbridge shows up again with his bass, and bam, we are deep back into that low bassy groove. Kofi and Oteil rage on while it gets crazy on stage before Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi followed suit. Oh. My. God. So, yeah, what to say about that? Derek slides on through with Soul Serenade, his beautiful wife Susan sings, crowd out of their mind. I really couldn’t believe what was going down, I was so close to the stage, the vibe was so cool, everyone was having a great time – the whole place lifted. Oteil is so animated when he plays, and was loving the banter between him and Neal. Derek was laughing (I know! He’s usually so stoic!) and Susan and Nigel had a great duet singing together, James Brown style. By the end, the stage was filled with more horns, more guitars, more shredding, more bass, more drummers, more keys, more of everything. Speechless.
Postshow note: It was a great night, heightened by the fact that I was able to shake the hands of some of the incredible talent on the stage. By the time I left, the ringing in my ears was considerably louder, yet the rain didn’t seem to bother me.