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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Rocking out with The Rev. Al Green !

If you like only two notes of Al Green's music, you won't be hurting to rush, rush to his nearest concert. What a stupendous, captivating, magnificent show The Rev. Green gave at Wolf Trap Tuesday night.

The Washington Post story by J. Freedom du Lac pretty well ignored the reaction of the crowd and the pure delight we experienced with nonstop dancing at our seats and in the aisles at what was likely a sold out show.

We rocked, we danced, we clapped, we swayed to the beat, we sang along, we threw our hands up in the air. Seats? Not needed.

The music! Goodness gracious! We sang along with most everything, and Al and the crowd didn’t seem to care since his voice was so loud and melodious it wiped ours out: “Love and Happiness,” “Let’s Stay Together,” "Here I Am," other big ones; a dash of Otis, the Four Tops, the Temptations, and some new ones from his latest album, “Lay It Down.” Oh, my.

The mood and sounds of the combination of the happy, enthusiastic crowd and The Rev. Green singing “Amazing Grace” is too difficult for me to describe. I’ve got to rush out and get his gospel recordings before they sell out.

If it can be believed, The Reverend's voice is better than decades ago, and he can still reach those way high notes and hold them forever.

A tuxedo, the Post said? Not the traditional tuxedo you might expect from the word but a fancy three-piece suit, with vest, lavender shirt and matching tie.

Throughout the evening, the Rev. Green frequently took off the jacket, only to put it right back on. He came out in long white (nylon?) gloves which he kept on for about a third of the performance before he threw them out to the crowd. He wore sunglasses which he never removed.

And the roses! Has anyone told you about the roses? All night he threw out long-stemmed red roses to the females close to the stage. And kissed some of the adoring women. (The terrific photo by Richard Lipski in the Post story is worth a look.)

His band included two female vocalists, three men on electric guitar, an organist, a pianist on electric keyboard, two horns, one sax player, and two percussionists. That this was an entourage from a minister was obvious since the females wore no skimpy, revealing costumes but dull suits with pants. You would have thought they were lively K Street types.

The two dancers on stage were young males who perfectly performed their choreography synchronistically and often changed outfits.

The Rev. Green frequently moped his brow, and the perspiration twinkled in the lights and in the night, much like the stars in abundance on the heavenly night.

The evening began right on time with a 45-minute set by jazz, blues, and folk guitarist and composer Amos Lee, a former elementary school teacher, who was interviewed this morning on NPR's Weekend Edition by Scott Simon.

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