For fans of the original Blues Brothers skits on Saturday Night Live back in the late 70’s as well as the 1980 movie that followed, seeing a current Blues Brothers show is like putting on a favorite pair of comfortable shoes. It gives one a feeling of continuity and relaxation. It’s the same songs, the same gags, the same dance moves and the same great music that has endeared the Blues Brothers philosophy to our collective hearts.
This time around it was Wayne Catania as Jake and Kieron Lafferty as Elwood appearing last Friday at the Evans Amphitheater at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Appearing with Jake and Elwood was Precious Jewel Taylor (niece of jazz great KoKo Taylor) who appeared as Sister Callie. Precious brought a soulful sound to the back-up vocals as well as some kicking solo numbers that had the crowd clapping along with her.
The band (from left to right) consisted of keyboardist Eric Finland who pounded out some great blues riffs on the ivories at times making his set-up sound like the old Hammond organ with the spinning speakers. Next to him was David Herron who blew a cool trumpet that filled the joint. He was supported by his sidekick, Gordon Aeichele on sax who brought his game with him. Over at the mid-stage point was guitarist Kory Montgomery who just shredded everything handed to him with some fiery finger work on the steel strings. On drums was the unbelievable Charlie Cooley who worked the skins without mercy, giving that strong rock and roll back beat that is rock and roll. Last but not least was Garret Jones on bass who gave the bottom to the songs. Together they are the 2013 Official Blues Brothers Review Intercontinental Rhythm and Blues Revue Band and they were rocking the joint Friday night.
As for Jake and Elwood, they were the perfect personification of the Blues Brothers with the swagger, humor, attitude and pipes to pull off a really great show. As they worked their way through the songs and various gags from the movie,skits and albums, they soon had the audience singing and clapping along. It was a rock and roll, gospel, rhythm and blues and soul music song fest. My only surprise was why there were any empty seats in the house. Probably because not everyone had heard that Jake and Elwood was in town. One great bit was Elwood going into the audience with a wireless mike for some help with the “na-na” parts from “Land of a Thousand Dances”. It was priceless and there were some really courageous (and in harmony) singers in the crowd.
All in all it was a great night of music that we were all familiar with as we clapped and sang a bunch of favorite songs from a time ago. For where the tour is headed next go to: http://bbrevue.com/schedule.html
This weekend finishes out the season of over sixty performances of dance, classical music, rock and roll, blues, jazz etc. and etc. that has made this summer a great one for live music in Cleveland. Keep your eye on this column or visit http://www.cainpark.com/index.aspx?page=11 next spring for next year’s schedule. As I have said many times before, nothing beats a live performance!