In 2009 we saw Boz Scaggs perform live with a jazz combo in Minneapolis at the Dakota Restaurant and Jazz Club. Boz put on a beautiful show in an intimate setting, covering some of the standards he has recorded in recent years as well as reinterpreting his hits of the 1970’s. Boz is still lanky and cool after all these years. We loved the show.
Boz returned to town later that year with a new touring unit to play the State Theater before a sold-out crowd of old fans. With a larger audience the emphasis was naturally on his old hits rather than his new recordings. It was a completely satisfying show. That night he spoke fondly of Minneapolis, recalling his first time through town many years ago at the old Guthrie Theater as well as subsequent stops at First Avenue.
This past summer Boz appeared at the Minnesota State Fair on a rainy night with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald. I thought Boz was the first among equals that night.
Boz brought his touring show back to the State Theater again last night. Backed by a crack five-piece band and accompanied by vocal sidekick Monet Owens, Boz sounds better than ever. The Napa Valley Register enthusiastically reviewed the show earlier this month. The Star Tribune’s Jon Bream wasn’t as impressed by the show last night, but the raucous baby boom crowd suggested to me that we’d like to see Boz back in Minneapolis again some time soon.
One of the highlights of the show was “Lowdown,” the first of his many irresistible hits. The video below from the 2004 “Greatest Hits Live” DVD gives a pretty good idea of how the song sounds in Boz’s show nowadays.
During the encore last night Boz played his smoldering version of Fenton Robinson’s “Loan Me a Dime,” one of the highlights of his debut solo album forty years ago. The guitar solos inevitably brought the late Duane Allman’s contribution to the original recording to mind, but Boz’s vocal plumbs new depths. The man can sing.
The song is an extended outpouring of grief for love lost. The instrumentalists cried it out, as did Boz’s vocal. I thought to myself that if Boz had only played that song and left the stage I would have been happy. This is in my opinion a memorable show. Upcoming tour dates are listed here.
Local artist Alison Scott opened for Boz. I was impressed. Having listened to her cd “Chinese Whispers” on the way home last night, I think she can play in the major leagues.
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