Benson was not the only guitar virtuoso on stage last night at the Ravinia Festival. From the soulful opener of Carlos Santana's "Stone Flower" by Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin to the rousing foot stomping and hand clapping "On Broadway" by Benson, the crowd was treated to nearly three hours of interpretation, jazz licks, funky bass, and one movie theme song.
Melvin Lee Davis wins the award for best bassist of the evening as laid down some of the funkiest grooves of the evening. Sadly Dave Grusin was cast as side man for Ritenour so he only offered up "It Might Be You," his Academy Award nominated song from "Tootsie," and the titile track to 1980's "Mountain Dance." It would have been great to hear a medley of some of his fabulous TV work that includes the themes to show such as "Baretta," "St. Elsewhere," or "Good Times." The only misstep in the opening set was a rendition of "Get Up, Stand Up." "I Shot The Sheriff" or "Exodus," both of which appear on his Bob Marley tribute album. But that was a small blemish on an otherwise stellar first act.
George Benson appeared with a five piece band and gave raucous version of his best known songs including "Breezin," his opener, "Give Me the Night," "Turn Your Love Around," soulful renditions of "This Masquerade," and James Taylor's "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight."
The only distraction of the evening was some idoit next to me who seemingly made out with his Blackberry throughout the evening after arriving midway through Ritenour's set. Between that and chatting with his companions, it's a credit to those around us that no one poured a drink on his head or threw a solid object at him. "I;ve always wanted to tell one of these bozos, "What if I showed up your office with a bunch of friends and started making a ruckus while you are trying to work. It's no different when a performer is "working" on stage.
Sorry for the rant. Now back to a little self promotion.
I wrote a very good (at least in my opinion) profile piece on Southern Cal soccer player Alyssa Davila. If you are a soccer fan, it's a very interesting story.
Lastly, a music show I produce, Psychedelic Time Warp, has returned to the airwaves, well actually the Internet waves. Catch it this weekend at Okemos Brewing Friday at 10 pm ET/ 9 CT or Sunday at 10 am ET/ 9 CT. Or Zecom Radio's - The Choice on Saturdays at 9 pm ET/ 8 CT with a replay Sunday night just after midnight central time.
Time Warp is a two hour "mind expanding journey of music, comedy, and memories." You'll get deep cuts, live versions of your favorite classic rock, covers by other artists, comedy bits, and TV and movie sound clips. This week is a theme show with "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" as a special feature. All the songs will have one of the above in the title, lyrics, or band name. The Cars, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Miller, The Who, The Cure, and Jethro Tull are all on the bill.
Have a great weekend!