The final night of the Bowlive run is akin to the last day of your wedding week. Seeing the same faces you have seen all week, reminiscing over all the great times you had, and looking forward to one final party to cap it all off. On this the eighth night, Soulive could’ve chosen any band in NYC to open the show. Instead they tapped Royal Potato favorite Wyllys to get the crowd warmed up ahead of Marco Benevento and Soulive. Wyllys still opts for the old school method of spinning rock, funk, and soul tunes on vinyl in addition to using the electronic devices at his disposal. If one thing was learned throughout this run it was the importance of the opener to not only set the stage for Soulive but to warm the crowd up. On this Saturday night in Brooklyn, the crowd was ready to have the best night of their lives.
Soulive took the stage for their final engagement with just the three members of the band. Eric Krasno (guitar), Alan Evans (drums), and Neal Evans (keys) hit the ground running with “Rudy’s Way” off of the 2002 album Turn It Out, then took it back even further with the 2001 tune “One In Seven” off of Doin’ Something. Only two songs into the night and The Shady Horns consisting of Benny Bloom (trumpet) and Ryan Zoidis (sax) joined in on the action on “Spark”, a tune penned as a tribute to American jazz blues guitarist Melvin Sparks. The next two songs “Backwards Jack” and “PJ’s” both came off of the 2009 release Up Here. The final guest of Bowlive 6, Marco Benevento, joined in the fun to occupy his empty piano at center stage and close out the first set with a psychedelic rendition of the appropriately named “Up Right.” He jammed away on his piano, giving the crowd a slight foreshadowing of how electric the remainder of the night would be. In between sets a montage was played on the screens at Brooklyn Bowl recapping the previous seven nights, the same you would find at a wedding, recapping all the good times spent together.
The second set began with the ensemble on stage joined by Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown (trumpet, Tedeschi Trucks Band) for the second time of the run for a heart filled rendition of George Benson’s “Soulful Strut.” As Marco delved into “Limbs of a Pine” off his 2012 Tigerface, it became apparent that no man was smiling wider then Benevento, his electric personality and smile energizing the audience and band in what would be their seventeenth and final set of Bowlive 6. Up next was “At The Show,” which featured Benevento leaving his bench and keys to prance around the stage like a exuberant child on Christmas morning, only making a pit stop to share a dance with his ivory tickling brother, Neal. Marco returned to his piano to close out the second set with the jammed out psych jazz “The In Crowd.”
For the final encore Soulive, The Shady Horns, and Marco Benevento went an interesting route and chose an instrumental version of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean,” the same tune they closed out the previous Saturday night with, with Jennifer Hartswick on vocals. After the encore, Pete Shapiro came out on stage and gifted the band “61” necklaces to honor the 61 shows Soulive has played at Brooklyn Bowl to date. The evening was brought to an end with Wyllys continuing to keep the crowd grooving into the late hours of the night with his unique mash-ups and fan favorite tunes.