Bowlive III: Night Two 2.29.12
Words By Karen Dugan (www.tinyrager.com)
Photos By Marc Millman
The second night of BOWLIVE III at The Brooklyn Bowl started similarly to the previous evening with Soulive members Eric Krasno and brothers Neal and Alan Evans taking the stage alone for the first two songs. “Shaheed,” from band's 2001 album Doin' Something and “DIG,” from their 2003 self-titled album started the set. Choosing to open the sets themselves, Soulive is taking on the entire responsibility of pumping up their audience and the trio is fully succeeding. By the end of the second song, audience members were whispering that this night was even hotter than the last.
John Scofield, considered one of the “big three” of America’s current jazz guitarists, joined the stage for a second night with a pink guitar and giant smile. “Nealization,” off their 2003 album Turn It Out, which Scofield performed on the album for this song, was next on the energized set-list. The energy level for a Wednesday night at the Brooklyn Bowl that was two-thirds full was stellar. The players on stage had picked up where they left off the night before and continued to elevate throughout the entire night.
Nigel Hall, the soulful vocalist and keyboardist from The Warren Haynes Band, was a much larger presence last night coming out on the Billy Cobham and George Duke tune, “Stratus.” Nigel Hall’s passion for the Fusion genre, especially George Duke, runs DEEP so you can only imagine how tight, invested and amazing he was performing the tune. Absolutely CRUSHING with Scofield distorting his rock-oriented sound! John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy“and Freddie Hubbard’s “Provo” followed.
With Nigel still on stage, delivering a fun Moog Solo half way through, they performed the Scofield original, “Hottentot.” Alan Evans was clearly feeling this song as he threw in slight little change ups in his beats that altered the style and sound in a great way, if only for a few seconds. His eyes closed and his lips pursed during the intense moments of connection to his instrument, Alan Evans was fully engaging and stood out as a leader on stage last night.
Ending the set with Nappy Brown’s 1957 cover made popular by Ray Charles, “The Night Time is the Right Time,” Soulive and guitar god history was made. Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), John Scofield and Eric Krasno were all on the stage at the same time, for the first time. This was the moment that the die-hard fans were waiting for. Nigel Hall sang the bluesy love song while the audience witnessed the three guitarists take their turns playing in their own unique and respective styles in a solo. Luther Dickinson eventually left the stage as the song continued. Then, what will definitely be considered one of the most interesting guitar banters of the musical run took place. Scofield and Krasno played off each other’s rifts in one of the most unusual and gorgeous ways this super fan has ever witnessed. The Evans brothers lightened their presence, tapping a little lighter and recognizing the moment that was taking place. It was almost as if the two guitars were holding a conversation. The audience was silent when the song ended and then they erupted. THIS WAS WHY THESE MEN DO WHAT THEY DO! These rare moments of musical collaborations are what define Bowlive.
During set break audience members engaged in the Brooklyn Bowl’s amazing Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, played a game of bowling and could be heard comparing the two evenings. Everyone was in agreement that this night kicked the previous night out of the water.
The second set started with Luther Dickinson joining the stage immediately for “Outrage” and stayed on stage for the entire set. “Bubble” and “All Night Long” were simply fantastic. There was no warming up this time, no taking it slow and simple. It was a full speed ahead.
Neal Evans was a force to be reckoned with during the second set with his heavy-handed organ play sounding excellent partnered with Dickinson’s slide guitar for “Shake Your Momma.” Nigel Hall came out on stage once again to perform Muddy Water’s “Champagne and Reefer” which had the audience laughing in agreement to the lyrics.
The encore was spectacular. Leaving the stage for literally 120 seconds, Soulive and Luther Dickinson practically ran back on stage to perform a blazing rendition of Jimi Hendrix's “Spanish Castle Magic.” Their excitement was evident as Dickinson sang the verses while Alan Evans sang the chorus. No one wanted the show to end but the audience accepted the fact that these talented musicians need their rest.