Al Green last night was a blast. As you my know, Salle Wilfred Pelletier is not my favorite venue — I’ve listened to my friend Jacques Beaudoin play there in the OSM many times and though it’s “pretty” good for unamplified classical it just shuts down with rock or anything approaching volume.
Rain was hurtling down, the taxi company didn’t send the promised taxi and we had to wade into the torrent. Luckily we found one.
But the streets near the Place des Arts were all closed off. So we had to rush through a veritable deluge (we were late because of the taxi fiasco) and barely made it to will-call, drenched. Only to find there was an opening act, Lizz Wright. We were wet and exhausted from running, so we opted for another solution: sit out the opening act with a couple of scotches in the lobby. That worked. And we met Lizz Wright’s bus driver . . . he was sitting right next to us. Very cynical guy.
And then went out into the now-dry evening and sampled some wines at a tent near PDA. I must say, the whole area was packed. Unbelievable.
And then, Al Green. Who is Al Green? Apparently many people except me know, because the crowd was rapturous, devout. they knew all the songs and I knew not a single one except for Dock of the Bay, which was only performed as a snippet, but these people, mainly 50ish but not necessarily, knew all the songs, all the words, and just went into hysteria when one or another Al Green specials commenced.
And to tell you the truth, I was actually concentrating on the musicians. The show was seamless. Obviously extremely-well planned. Green would launch into some patter and some instrument would be playing gently behind it and even the patter was great. A master showman, this dude.
So I felt rather left out while everyone else was swaying to the tunes they knew, but it was very revival-like, very gospely. (If that’s a word).
Very nice show. After that we retired to some funky lounge nearby where EVERYONE was under thirty and the DJ actually came up to me and asked what I wanted to hear. He was using an iBook and turntables, or maybe they were fake turntables, but when I told him we had just come from the Al Green show he apologised for the awful hip-hop that was currently playing and in less than 20 minutes, lo and behold: Al Green.
So it was a Green, red (for the wine), yellow (for the scotch) cream (for the Kalhua and milk) and orange (for the Long Island Iced Tea) night.
Cheers all round.