- BOZ SCAGGS/ROBERT CRAY BAND/JEFF LEBLANC
- Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri
- August 19, 2022
What an amazing weekend of music I just concluded. Keep an eye out for my piece on the HAPPY TOGETHER show – this one is all about the night I got to listen to one of my all-time favorites and discovered a new one.
I had certainly heard of the Robert Cray Band, and was familiar with their biggest song, “Smoking Gun,” and I had known for years that Mr. Cray was the guitarist for Otis Day and the Knights in “Animal House.” But I’d had no idea that he was a master of the guitar, with an amazing band to match him lick for lick. I will mention here that my wife is a big fan and has told me for years that I didn’t know what I was missing. She was right. With Mr. Cray changing guitars for almost every song played, the music lept from his fingers and filled the sold-out Kauffman Center. His band kept pace, with bass player Richard Cousins supplying the beat while changing instruments almost as much as Mr. Cray did. The set ended with a bluesy rendition of Chuck Berry’s (You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie.
After a short break it was time for headliner Boz Scaggs and his band to take the stage. I’m old enough to remember when hits like “Ledo Shuffle,” “Lowdown” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me” – a great song to have on the turntable when you were “entertaining” a lady friend – were first released. I played Mr. Scaggs’ “Silk Degrees” album constantly as a teenager and it was quite a joy to hear those songs – and others – performed live. I just realized I may have confused our younger readers by using both words “turntable” and “album.” Still the best way to listen to music. Don’t believe me? Ask your parents.
Besides the hits, Mr. Scaggs also played a selection of songs from his latest album, “Let it Roll.” The mixture of old and new was well received by the audience, as was the rousing “Ledo Shuffle” sing-along.
The evening began with a short set from singer/songwriter Jeff Leblanc, who easily engaged the audience with his stories, including a folksy rendition of Al Green’s (or, if you’re my son’s age – Tina Tuner’s) “Let’s Stay Together,” which he introduced as a song he had to learn for a wedding. A budding talent who I’m sure we will all hear more about sooner than later.
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