Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 09/10/2007 08:37 AM
Updated by: thepinetree on 09/18/2007 06:40 AM
Expires: 01/01/2012 12:00 AM
Three Legends, One Night at Ironstone Amphitheater!~By Kris Fichtner (Updated with Video)
Murphys, CA...The evening began with a cool breeze and the smoky smells of grilled meats as we walked onto the exquisitely manicured grounds of Ironstone Vineyards. Winding our way through the shady tree canopied grotto to the lawn area, and finally to our seats. The house was packed an hour prior to the show, and everyone was buzzing with excitement, enjoying the offerings of food, and of course the selection of wines. I was particularly interested to discover that proceeds from wine and beer concessions at the Ironstone Summer Concert Series went to benefit local Lions Clubs and the Calaveras Humane Society....
Once we were seated, we met our neighbors who had traveled from Redding and Hayward to see the show. One proudly announced it was his twenty-sixth time seeing the great B.B. King. As soon as the announcer took the stage, cheers rippled through the audience, and then exploded as Etta James and her Roots Band (which includes two of her sons) took command.
This great lady, queen of the blues sat regally in her chair; her long blonde locks reminiscent of her younger self. She addressed the crowd with a familiarity that indicated her tenure on stage. She owned the moment, and every moment in her set. The indomitable Ms. James growled through her songs, the strength of her voice undiminished by age, and peppered her performance with her bawdy brand of humor. Etta gifted the audience with a cover of Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart and encouraged us to sing along with the chorus. She rarely got up from her throne on the stage, but her presence was undeniable, and the depth of soul and experience radiated from her with casual ease. You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker went out to all the ladies, and she sang her classic At Last for the romantics in the house joking about the volume of wedding invitations she gets, even while shopping at Wal-Mart! I regretted seeing her leave the stage, but it was just like Etta to leave us worked up and yearning for more.
Al Green was full of love as he glided onto the stage in his tuxedo with a crimson rose tucked into his lapel. His whole set was as smooth as his voice, crooning to the crowd with his some of his greatest hits, and a medley of classic soul covers which ranged from Otis Redding, to Sam Cooke, to The Temptations. He hit on a little gospel, and his experience as a preacher man shone through in his stage presence. This soulful master was all warmth and love, pausing often between songs to confess to the crowd “I love you…” and pass out long stemmed red roses to the lucky ladies in the first row. His voice virtually reached into the crowd, caressing us where Etta had gotten us so worked up. Al reminded us that he was “So Tired of Being Alone”, and that he definitely wanted to “Stay Together”. He had the entire audience soothed, dreamy eyed, and full of good vibrations by the time he was through with us. People were hugging their neighbors, kissing their partners and thinking of good times gone by and good times yet to come.
Finally, late in the night B.B. took the stage. As he was introduced, he seated himself at the front, humbly telling the audience about his Mississippi childhood, stealing “white water” from segregated drinking fountains, his experiences with meeting women fans in his youth, and celebrated his women fans now that he is eighty-one, he thanked us for waiting for “the old man”. His friendly warmth engulfed his listeners; he made us laugh and laughed with us. It was amazing to laugh with B.B. King, whose laugh was and pure like that of a small child pleased by simple things. He wailed on Lucille, his famous guitar, evoking the sounds which made him famous and which are still so sweet. This Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee played long into the night with Just like a Woman, and the Bono penned tune When Love Comes to Town.
By the time we wandered out to the car, taking our time, savoring the delicious night, we felt lucky to have had what seemed like such an intimate experience with three of the truly great legends of music. Like cats that had caught the canaries, we rode home with wide smiles on our faces.
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