Last night was my first time seeing Ruthie Foster, at the Narrows center for the Arts in Fall River, MA -but hopefully won't be the last. She is small in stature but not in voice or stage presence, very strong vocals and songwriting, and funny too, told some good stories. She does folk, blues, gospel, even a little reggae, and can really belt it out. plus having Pat Boyack (ex- Marcia Ball guitarist) along with her on electric guitar rounded out the sound with some really nice bluesy solos. He still makes all those faces too so is fun to watch on stage, he really gets into it.
On Thursday night, we went to see Elton John, my first time seeing him live, and he did not disappoint! He played around 2 1/2 hours, and performed lots of older, not so well known material that they don't do very often (B-sides, says Joe) plus of course plenty of more familiar stuff (Honky Cat, , and at least one new song, "the bridge" or something. The Providence concert was in preparation for this big 60th birthday extravaganza happening tonight at MSG in NY (to be shown live on MSN) so he started off with "60 years on", and ended with "Your Song". he may not hit all the high notes like he used to (like on Rocket man) , but is still quite a performer, one of those artists with so much material, it could have gone on for 4-5 hours easily.
And the light show was really spectacular, from our seats we could watch the lighting director who seemed to be having a blast "directing" the stage show.
Wednesday we went to the "Last of the Breed" show with Willie Nelson/ Merle Haggard/ Asleep at the Wheel and Ray Price. Asleep at the Wheel was the backup band, and Ray Price opened . He was a little too mellow for my tastes, like being on the grand ole opry - though at 81 the guy still sounds really good! Then after an intermission, Asleep at the Wheel did a few songs, then Merle joined the band, then Willie (and he had his harmonica player with him to give him the right sound on certain songs.....) Merle was cool and Willie was great, and they all shared some verses of the songs. I just love Willie Nelson. but I wish Ray Benson & the boys had been able to play more, though I'm not used to seeing them in such a large venue where you can't really dance too much (10,000 seat arena at Mohegan Sun)
Last Saturday was the great "Blues Harp Blowout" with Mark Hummel, Kim Wilson, Charlie Musselwhite. Each did a set, backed by a band with guitar, bass, drums, keyboard..., and then everyone came out for one big wailing jam, joined by Magic Dick from J Geils and also Doug James, sax player who has played with roomful of blues, Duke Robillard, etc as well as his own band. That was a smokin show and a night at the Narrows not soon to be forgotten. So today I'm taking a rest and hoping to catch Galactic w/ Papa Mali this Tuesday, Duke Robillard on Friday and Elana James & the Continental 2 on Saturday. We'll see how the week goes!
- added to Festive Living blog 12/11/2007; originally posted on: http://www.nojazzfest.com/chat/showthread.php?t=1179