“Please note: Tonight’s show at Terminal 5 starts EARLY so please plan accordingly. We don’t want to miss any of your (melting) faces.”
– Royal Family Records website
Cast of Characters:
Eric Krasno, guitar; Soulive/Lettuce/Chapter 2
Alan Evans, drums; Soulive
Neal Evans, Hammond B3, bass keys, clavinet; Soulive/Lettuce
Nigel Hall, vocals, keys; Soulive/Chapter 2/Nigel Hall Band
Adam Deitch, Drums; Lettuce/Chapter 2
Sam Kininger, saxophone; Lettuce
Rashawn Ross, trumpet; Lettuce
Ryan Zoidis, saxophone; Lettuce
Erick “E.D.”aka “Jesus” Coomes, bass; Lettuce
Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, guitar; Lettuce
John Scofield, guitar
Warren Haynes, guitar
Big Sam Williams, trombone, vocals
Talib Kweli, vocals
Maurice Brown, trumpet
Christian Scott, trumpet
The show started early, in good ‘ole Terminal 5. I was dressed for a ball, and have to note, the “ragers” this night forgot to read the title of the show – it was billed as The Royal Family Ball… why weren’t there more ties and dresses? Anyways, I had a dress on, bling around my neck, my hat and boots were rocking and I was ready to dance proper with the Royal Family.
This evening extravaganza builded like a crescendo, each band (and there was 3 of them) set the bar to out”rage” the next set. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a show like this. Soulive and their Royal Family friends are all raw power, highly technically sound musicians who are relentless. Relentless in the way that the energy these guys put out is matched by their fans appreciation. They filled the 3,000 capacity Terminal 5. They are recognized by the greats, why else would artists like Scofield, Haynes, Derek Trucks continue to cross their paths? They are on the verge of the next level, you felt it last night. I can’t wait to watch these guys soar to the next stratosphere. We will all be lucky when their music goes mainstream.
Nigel Hall Band: At 7:45-ish, Nigel Hall took the stage. By the time I get into position I see Nigel Hall, Zoidis, Kininger, Deitch, Brown, Smirnoff, Krasno and the Evan’s brothers (Neal on keys, Alan on guitar) and 2 backup singers (who are they?) on the stage. Nigel’s incredible voice, raging, wailing, screaming into the mic for us to all stand alert and stamp our feet, and nod our heads into the same groove. Yessiree, the funk has landed in midtown NYC.
Lettuce: Full rage, and we haven’t even gotten to the Soulive part of the evening yet. By this point there were 5 horn players (Big Sam, Maurice Brown, Kininger, Zoidis, Ross), John Scofield on guitar, Krasno on guitar, Coomes bringing on the funky bass with his bad self, Talib Kweli comes on and hip hops his way around Nigel Hall blasting back at him, Neal Evans on keys, Alan Evans, percussion. The place goes nuts, the floor full of bouncing heads and dancing ragers.
I’m on the 3rd floor (thanks Peter!), looking straight down at the stage, the epicenter of where the sound explosion had begun bouncing all around Terminal 5’s rafters. I’m in awe, not boogie-ing yet – still trying to decipher the sounds of what is happening all around me, trying to hone in on each artist’s playing. Krasno so technically perfect it is mouth-gaping, Coomes going so low, keepin it all together, Adam Deitch kickin it on those drums, loud and crashing, the horns blasting this craziness into the stratosphere.
Talib Kweli brings it down to the ground, funky, loud, head banging raging insanity, trading licks with Nigel…..phewww boy it had gotten hotter from the heat rising from the stage, before Scofield comes on stage, -at first, his guitar sounds like a sax- and he continues blasting us all into a Funky Cold Medina with his trippy, groovy jams. My neck began to hurt from the heavy funky nodding/dance we had all commenced in. The Lettuce was dirty…dirty dirty Lettuce.
Soulive w/ Special Guests: Rubber Soulive goes down in full effect. A melody of classics from The Beatles, John Scofield and Eric Krasno in a musical tit-for-tat game both going just sick on their instruments of power. My notes are all jumbled. Can’t seem to read my handwriting. I have to somehow write this down from memory (and without any setlists yet – none are released at this time)…
My eyes settle on Alan, one of my personal top 5 drummers, and he’s frikkin wailing on the drums. His whole body raging into the beat, um, he’s setting the beat, fast and dirty, damn Al!, Neal Evans and his freakishly absurd hands playing keys and the bassline, at the same time! Eleanor Rigby flows into I Want You (She’s So Heavy) and by this time, my mind is floating, I’ve succumbed into the funkiness that is Soulive/The Royal Family, and my head gets light, I close my eyes, I shake my ass, and… that’s it folks.
I watch Sco leave the stage, and Krasno and Alan bring him back, like “No man, you’re staying for this”, when I hear Krasno introduce Warren Haynes to the stage. Right. Warren. Head was light, now eyeballs are falling out. So, to recap, there is Eric Krasno, John Scofield and Warren Haynes on the stage – three of my personal top 5 guitar players. Holy hell, my head exploded all over the 3rd floor – I know mine wasn’t the only one. Warren with Sco and Kraz on Born Under a Bad Sign. Ridiculous. The night ends with an encore from Nigel and the Royal Family for a killer James Brown Medley. It felt like seven bagillion people were on the stage. Can. Not. Wait. For. More…….