Boz Scaggs brings tour to adoring hometown fans

Boz Scaggs brings tour to adoring hometown fans

Boz Scaggs has been on the road for nearly a year, in support of his latest recording, “Memphis.” He decided to stop off in his hometown last weekend before continuing on the current tour that will take him to Australia before wrapping up in the Hollywood Bowl this summer.

The 69-year-old master of blue-eyed soul served up an hour-and-45-minute show at the Uptown Theater Sunday night that saw the cool, rockin’ bluesman and his mates mixing up old and new for a house that sold out months ago.

Judging from the reaction of receptive crowd, Scaggs may be even more popular today than he was in the 1970s when he was turning out hit after hit from landmark R&B collections. Although, I suspect many in Sunday night’s audience were among those snapping up the singer/songwriter/ gutarist’s recordings back in the day.

Sunday night’s show was not much different than the one Scaggs presented in the same venue last March. He and his outstanding six-member ensemble delivered a number of the blues and mellow jazz tunes from the new CD he recorded in Memphis, along with classics from the entertainer’s halcyon days.

Sure — some of the hits were on the bill and Scaggs sounded as great as ever singing them — “Georgia,” “Lido Shuffle,” “Lowdown” and, from out of mothballs, “What Can I Say?” Of course, one that we always hope will be included is the sassy, explosive duet with nonpareil backup vocalist, Monet Owens, “Miss Sun.”

“Miss Monet” is a vocal powerhouse, as comfortable with a soul song as she is rockin’ the house. She did both with Sam and Dave’s 1968 R&B hit, “I Thank You,” punctuated by a little of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”

After kicking things off with the updated vibe of the classic “JoJo,” Scaggs moved into the funky blues shuffle of “Dry Spell” from the new CD, with Eric Crystal featured on a couple of soulful solos on both sax and melodica.

I was pleased that he continues to feature the early dusky ballad, “Sierra,” that for years he rarely performed. It was a memorable moment.

Our hometown headliner included a couple of Willy DeVille’s sassy rockers from the latest CD — “Cadillac Walk” and “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” both providing ample opportunities for guitarist Drew Zing and the rhythm section (bassist Richard Pattison and drummer Lemar Carter) to display the right stuff.

His mature voice is ideally suited for the material contained on “Memphis,” like the 1970 Brook Benton hit, “Rainy Night in Georgia.” I enjoyed his spin on the classic “Corrine, Corrina,” a mellow treatment of a song I associate with Big Joe Turner’s R&B career in the 1950s rather than Bob Dylan’s later rendition. Michael Logans Hammond B-3 kicked in here.

It was also a treat to hear as one of the encores, Fat Domino’s “I’m Sick and Tired of Fooling’ Around With You,” what Scaggs refers to as a “New Orleans love song.”

Nice to welcome Scaggs back to his hometown venue. As long as he includes us on his worldwide tours, Sunday night’s adoring crowd will be most happy.

Posted: Thursday 13 February 2014

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