Bowlive IV #2 Recap w/ Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Lee Fields, Robert Randolph & More : Nigel Hall & DJ Logic Tonight
For those super-fans, like myself, who have never missed a Bowlive show, (that’d be 31 shows, counting last night), the epic musicianship of Eric Krasno (guitar) and brothers Neal Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet) and Alan Evans (drums) is what drives us to come each night. However, it’s the un-announced musicians that also fuel a real fire in our motivation. The surprise third set that gets announced at the start of the night begins driving the rumor mill and the audience wonders how our favorite jazz trio is going to deliver us their musical spread for the evening. Let’s be honest! If Soulive/Bowlive fans keep it real about one thing they have learned over the last three years, it’s that Soulive will always keep us guessing and they never fail to deliver. The second night of Bowlive IV was no different.
The eight-piece powerhouse, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, kept the energy going from the first night, opening to another packed house. The sexy, sultry voice of Arleigh Kincheloe led the group, consisting of brothers Jackson Kincheloe (harmonica) and Bram Kincheloe (drums), Sasha Brown (guitar), Josh Myers (bass), Phil Rodriguez (trumpet), Ryan Snow (trombone) and Brian Graham (baritone sax). They rocked through their originals tunes, “Freight Train,” “Too Much,” and “Dirt.” However, they brought down the house when they covered AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
Soulive blasted out of the gate with “El Ron,” showcasing the magnificent drumming skills of Alan Evans. After Alan removed his jacket and introduced the band, the trio took their time grinding into the melodic “DIG.” The first half of the first set contained jamming, old skool originals like “Uncle Junior” and “Azucar” before vocalist Lee Fields and the Expressions horns joined the stage. It was then that the audience was transported back to the 70’s, with the Brooklyn-based singer, wearing a killer silver suit, knocked the audience down with his powerful vocals. Performing his famous “We Fought for Survival,” recorded in 1970, and “You’re My Weakness,” Lee Fields danced and grooved around on stage and into the audience’s hearts with his James Brown-style. The crowd was electrified.
Set II began with the jazz-funk trio performing “Aladdin” with Neal Evans standing out significantly on the bass keys. They brought the energy level right back to where they left off at the end of the first set when pedal steel slide guitarist Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band) walked out wearing a silver sequins mask. With Alan Evans on vocals, they crushed Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.” Randolph sang his radio friendly tune, “It Don’t Matter,” breaking the first of three chairs that he would eventually bend due to his climbing and jumping upon them. Lee Fields joined the stage for a rousing improvisational jam entitled “C# Funk Blues.” Then, Randolph and the trio took a risk, slowing the pace down for the beautiful “She Feels So Good.” At first, the crowd was lost in conversation but Randolph and the guys quickly reeled them back. Randolph was on his knees while playing The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and The Expressions’ saxophonist, Leon Michaels, delivered a long and majestic saxaphone solo to top it off. The set list called for Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” to end the set. However, Randolph wasn’t done with the stage. Randolph drove past “Crosstown Traffic” into a five minute nameless jam to solidify his reign for this year’s Bowlive run.
After Robert Randolph’s set, the venue emptied out a bit and many who remained had no idea that they were about to be rewarded with an amazing third set. Every year as the Brooklyn Bowl gets down to the Funky sounds of Soulive, there is always another residency raging in New York City at the Beacon Theater. That would be the the Allman Brothers Band residency. Many fans of both bands split their time between the two residencies during their annual extended March runs. There are also many who leave the Beacon and make a beeline to Brooklyn hoping to catch the end of the later running Bowlive performance. And on a few evenings, they hope to see members of the Allman Brothers Band sit in with Soulive. Earlier in the week, Eric Krasno was a guest of the Allman Brothers at the Beacon Theater. But tonight, it would be Kraz’s turn to play musical host to two of the Jam universe’s biggest heroes, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes.
Long before the surprise guests took the stage, the buzz had flown around the Brooklyn Bowl that the possibility of a Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes appearance was eminent. Everyone waited in anticipation of the third set, which would surely bring together an epic combination of guitarists. Krasno and the Evans brothers went right into a fast paced version of “One in 7.” Kraz played a great solo, perhaps anticipating the push he would feel from the two greats appearing later in the song. Finally, we were delivered our present as Derek Trucks came out during the raging “One in 7” and within 120 seconds, he and Krasno were standing next to one another, trading off screeching leads and bringing the crowd into a state of blissful guitar heaven. The audience was going ballistic and became a sea of cameras and arms.
Warren Haynes came out as the band got ready to play their next song. He stepped right up to the microphone for vocals on “The Thrill is Gone,” backed by Derek and Kraz joining in for a super jam near the end. The rest of the set had the crowd mesmerized as three guitar legends traded licks. However, there was still one more guitarist who had to re-join the party before it was all over, Robert Randolph. Robert came out and sat at his pedal steel as the band ripped into a mind-blowing version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Them Changes.”
Seeing those four finger picking maestros on stage together will be a once-in-a-lifetime moment for many fans in the audience. Those are the moments that scream at the music-lover in all of us. Warning, or rather,TELLING us not to miss the next show. Another amazing Bowlive memory for the books. We should be thankful that, for now, it’s a never ending series!
Tonight, Soulive will host Nigel Hall, who opened all ten nights of Bowlive I and is a staple in the Royal Family projects. As well, be prepared to be awed by the powerful vocals of Alecia Chakour Band and the DJing talents of DJ Logic.
Written by Karen Dugan
Pictures by Allison Murphy