R.I.P. Bobby “Blue” Bland: Plain Sense Reposts His Review of Bland’s Last Show in Minneapolis 3 Years Ago This Month
It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing yesterday of one of the truly great talents in all of American music. Bobby “Blue” Bland was a singer, composer, arranger and band leader. More than all of that, he was a force of nature, a physical presence and musical influence of such immense proportions that he earned the respect of all those fortunate enough to have attended one of his concerts or listened in awe to one of his many classic LPs on the Duke label. In honor of this great man, I repost my review of his concert at the Dakota in Minneapolis 3 years ago this month. R.I.P. Bobby, you have earned it.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The warm up act Divina and the Vagabonds: what at first blush is a pretty good Billie Holiday impression gets old quickly. Then again, maybe it wasn’t a Billie Holiday impression at all just a bad overbite. Nice material and band, especially trumpet player kinda cool, like if Curtis A played trumpet.
The Man, old (80). The voice, still has it, but the legendary growl a little phlegmy. Incredible band including great 4 piece horn section, great rhythm section and killer guitarist. Bobby was assisted onstage where he performed seated. This put him at eye level with the rich white folks at the expensive tables. As soon as he turned on his mic, he transformed from a frail elderly man into what I call the Black Sinatra, except better band and better material. Talk about presence, and I don’t mean the kind under the Christmas tree, he controlled the room, put down boisterous lady fans shouting “I love you Bobby!”, to which he would reply in a Barry White baritone, “Bobby’s got you covered”. He did a little over an hour set hitting most of his big hits, which is saying alot but the best part of the evening is how he, good naturedly, at least outwardly, f**ked with the rich white folks. My peeps did not disappoint and rose to the level, making fools of themselves whether responding to Bobby’s passive aggressive line of questioning: “Hey big fella, can you handle it?”, “Are you married?” or “You ever get the blues?” or falling over from too many martinis like the rich corporate type sitting in front of me who rolled around on his back like a turtle, to his wife’s horror, who quickly escorted the rich lite weight out before the end of the show.