After a two-day recess, night four of Bowlive VI was underway in formidable fashion. As far as the opener setting the tone for the evening, Soule Monde has been the most musically appropriate choice of the run to date. The jazz/funk duo of Russ Lawton (drums) and Ray Paczkowski (clavinet, organ) were quick to put everyone in the mood. Lawton continually pushed the pace faster as Paczkowski followed on his Hammond B-3 and laid down deep funky riffs on his clavinet. Paczkowski has you wondering where the third hepcat was keeping the groove going on his four string. They set the stage for Soulive to bring their own style of modern funk to the table.
While Eric Krasno kept himself busy during the short break in the Bowlive residency, sitting in with Phil & Friends for his 75th birthday show at The Capitol Theater, fans got a much-needed hiatus from all the dancing. The fourth night started same as all the previous ones with just the three Soulive members on stage. Charging out of the gate with the classic original tune “So Live” off of their debut album, 2002’s Turn It Out. Once the mood was set, the trio went into the more soulful “Bubble” which segued wonderfully into the first of many covers for the night, The Beatles “Something.” The Extra Shady Horns on this night consisting of Zoidis (sax), Bloom (trumpet). The first guest of the evening was DJ Williams (guitar, KDTU) who joined in the fun for another old school Soulive original “Uncle Junior.” Williams and Krasno took this out for a ride and were upended by a screaming solo by Zoidis’ sax.
As the show was compressed from two sets down to one, most likely to placate the strap hangers with early morning meetings. At the end of the first hour of mostly Soulive originals, Chris Robinson finally made his way onto the stage. He was joined by Cochema Gastelum (sax, Dap Kings) and backup singers Sasha Ortiz and Maya Sharpe. The first tune that Robinson crooned for his enthusiastic fans was Otis Redding’s “Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Sad Song.” Only one song in and Robinson picked up his guitar to join Krasno on a medley of cover tunes. The Dr. John classic “Quitters Never Win” was up next followed by Robinson’s Bowlive coming out party as he blew the roof off the joint in a funk laden take on the Grateful Dead’s “West LA Fadeaway.”
Everything was coming up blues as we heard takes on Joe Cocker’s “Space Captain” and Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out My Life Woman.” Robinson and Neil Evans led the charge with their take on the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter tune “Sugaree.” To close out the night, which had the crowd singing along for the last hour, Robinson channeled his best Mick Jagger impersonation for The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter.” His soaring vocals led the crowd in what was the most authentic sounding cover of the night. To close out a night of classic rock tunes everyone was back on stage and joined by Ross James (guitar, Terrapin Family Band) for a cover of “Lovelight” that sounded more like the original Bobby Bland version than the more widely known Grateful Dead version. Based on the audience’s reaction, Robinson might have been the standout guest so far, and everyone will have another chance to see him Wednesday as he closes out his two-night stand with Soulive.