A casual listen to the Boz Scaggs discography makes one thing obvious: Boz Scaggs is both a musical seeker and a man of sizable talent as a singer, songwriter and guitarist. His explorations in blues and R&B, Rock and Jazz have produced lasting work and a career that has brought with it acclaim, a loyal followin, and an enduring respect among musicians.
And last night’s packed show at the Peace Center was nothing but proof of his ongoing talent, coolness, incredible voice and loyal following.
I had the incredible pleasure of sitting in the second row of the orchestra pit – a mere 20 ft away from the man himself. I watched fervently every guitar chord played, every facial expression, every wonderful moment by not only Boz, but by his incredible band as well. And throughout the entire 2 encore show, I was not once let down. As a matter of fact, this concert-goer – who rarely joins in on clapping along – couldn’t help but join the crowd in clapping to a rousing medley of Sly & The Family Stone’s “Thank You Falletin’ Me Be Myself Again” into Sam & Dave’s “I Thank You” sung by a very energetic backup singer Ms. Monet.
I heard everything I wanted to hear – plenty from his great new album Memphis and most of the well-known hits from the past four decades.
The new album Memphis is a great add to the collection of any Boz Scaggs fan, old or new, and any true music lover. Recorded with a team of veteran musicians at the late Willie Mitchell’s famed Royal Studios, where Al Green made his string of classic 1970s recordings, “Memphis” finds Scaggs lending his rough and smooth voice to intimate covers of “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl,” “Corinna Corinna” and “Rainy Night in Georgia.” The album, his 17th, also features a pair of original compositions, “Gone Baby Gone” and “Sunny Gone.” And even though the album has it’s share of cover tunes, they are delivered as only Boz can deliver them.
Then there were the expected highlights of the hits. the crowd was none too reserved to show their love of these great hits. “Lowdown”, Breakdown Dead Ahead”, “Lido Shuffle”, and plenty more. Probably the highlight for me was the two encores – the first ending with one of my favorite Boz tunes “Loan Me A Dime”, which was as good as I ever heard (probably better seeing it live and up so close). Then the second encore of “Breakdown Dead Ahead” left us all vibrating with Joy.
Finally, I have to say that I go to many shows of these long-time performers with the expectation of hearing great songs, and seeing the legends live – happy that they are still delivering great music decades later (which probably won’t be the case the most of today’s newer hot artists) – but understanding that the higher notes probably won’t be hit even closely, they’ll be a little less energized than they used to, and I will just be happy seeing them live and watching as a great band of younger musicians powers them through the show. Not the case with Boz. I was very pleasantly surprised to hear him vocally sound as great as he ever did, and still take the lead in some great guitar work.
I left the Peace Center feeling great. Naturally buzzed and musically rejuninated. And I wsn’t alone. After over 40 years, this 68-year-old-legend came, delivered, hit every note, and left us all with the longing to see it once again.