Sunday morning coming down

Boz Scaggs came through town again last week to perform on Tuesday evening at Minneapolis’s State Theater. Sitting in front row seats as guests of our friends Tom and Randy Edelstein, I snapped the nearby photo. Where we sat the sound was perfect. I could not believe how great Boz sounded. He must be carefully tending to his vocal instrument. At the age of 74, he has never sounded better.

St. Cloud attorney and Power Line reader Steve Heller sat in the first row just to our left. He said hello and introduced himself to us on his way out as we lingered after the show. He asked me when I was going to review the show. I asked him to check back this morning (although this isn’t exactly a review).

Boz played to an ecstatic crowd at the State this past October. I found the crowd in roughly the same state of mind this time around. Sitting up close I could see Boz responding to the intensity of the crowd’s appreciation. He capped the show with three encores. Here I want to post a few videos just for the pleasure of the songs.

You may be familiar with Boz through his string of hits in the ’70s, but the guy is still a vital artist. His 2013 disc Memphis is an inspired throwback. The Wall Street Journal’s Marc Myers took the release of the disc that year as the occasion for an illuminating visit with Boz about the recording. The video below gives us Boz’s take on “Rainy Night in Georgia.”

In 2009 we saw Boz 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 had recorded in recent years as well as reinterpreting his hits of the ’70’s. Boz is still lanky and cool after all these years.

Boz returned to town later that year with a new touring unit to play the State 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. 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.

In 2010 Boz returned, this time to the State Fair on a cold and rainy night in Minnesota to perform with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald. I thought Boz was the first among equals that night. In concert Boz always plays his first hit, the irresistible “Lowdown.” I think I could name that tune in two notes from the drum riff alone. The video below is from his DVD with the Dukes of September lineup.

When he came out for the first of his three encores this past Tuesday evening Boz said he was going to send us home with the blues. The blues, in this case, was well represented by Boz’s smoldering version of Fenton Robinson’s “Loan Me a Dime,” the highlight of his self-titled debut album on Atlantic almost 50 years ago. The guitar solos inevitably brought the late Duane Allman’s contribution to the original recording to mind, but Boz’s vocal has only deepened the feeling of the song over time. The man can sing. “Loan Me a Dime” is an extended outpouring of grief for love lost. The video below is from 2004’s Greatest Hits Live.

In his second or third encore he played “Last Tango on 16th Street” by his friend Jack Walroth from 2015’s A Fool To Care.

Boz is on a long tour to support Out of the Blues, to be released on July 27. Upcoming tour dates are listed here.

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