Uptown Theatre Napa Concert Review
From the Napa Valley Register
By L Pierce Carson
As cheerful as an artist can be with a new critically acclaimed recording selling like hotcakes, Boz Scaggs came home last week for a two-night stand at Napa’s Uptown Theatre.
For the first of the performances, the king of blue-eyed soul offered a very tasty 90-minute performance that included three of the songs from his outstanding new retro-soul CD, “A Fool to Care.”
We wish he’d included more of the material from that recording, but some of the arrangements — featuring bandoneon, accordion and vibraphone — are not compatible with the touring six-member band that hits the road with the 70-year-old hitmaker.
Mixed in with the groovy Louisiana, Memphis, Philly and Chicago soul covers on the new CD is a sassy original by Scaggs, “Hell to Pay,” which he recorded with one of our favorites, Bonnie Raitt. For the tour, he asked another outstanding vocalist — Miss Monet (i.e., Monet Owens) — to fill in for Raitt, which she did most admirably.
Also included in the concert repertoire was a song that’s at least six decades old — Li’l Millet & the Creoles’ “Rich Woman” — a rousing blues rocker that kicked the show into high gear.
For the first of three encores, Scaggs told the enthusiastic crowd he had discovered a songwriter from Sheffield, England, who had a lot to say about the traffic of life. Richard Hawley has been desecribed across the pond as a modern-day Roy Orbison. After hearing just that single composition on the new recording, we heartily agree. Scaggs presented the Yorkshire guitarist’s “There’s a Storm A-Comin’” as the third offering from the new CD.
And you can bet that some of the hits were on the bill as well and that Scaggs sounded as great as ever singing them — “Georgia,” “Lido Shuffle,” “Lowdown,” “Harbor Lights” and, from the disco era, “What Can I Say?”
Miss Monet — a regular with the Scaggs ensemble for years now — also scored with “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do),” the Top 10 1974 Aretha Franklin hit. She may well have been left in the lurch by a lover, but if he hears her sing this song he’s sure to come crawling back on hands and knees.
Once again, we enjoyed hearing Eric Crystal’s soulful sax and the Hammond B-3 antics of Michael Logan throughout the evening. And Boz never sounded better.
Judging from the reaction of the sold-out house, 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. However, I suspect many in the crowd the other evening were “of a certain age” and among those snapping up the singer/songwriter/gutarist’s recordings back in the day.
Posted: Saturday 10 October 2015