Steve Winwood’s musical resume started at the unbelievably unripe age of 15 when he was with The Spencer Davis Group. He enjoyed instant success with songs like ” I’m a Man” and “Gimme Some Lovin” which is arguably one of the most fun party rock and roll songs ever recorded. Hundreds, maybe thousands of cover bands play that song for partiers everywhere. Winwood’s set included classics like “Can’t Find My Way Home,” “Rainmaker,” “I’m A Man,” “Higher Love,” and an encore of “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” and “Gimme Some Lovin'”
His mechanical or physical structure of his vocal chords combined with what I can scarcely describe as a God given gift of musical awareness and skill is unmatched in modern music. His gift must have been supremely mighty when he came bursting out of the musical gates at the age of 15 with the Spencer Davis Group.
Winwood would soon thereafter form the band Traffic and after a few albums Blind Faith was formed with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. Blind Faith was one of the earliest “supergroups”. Winwood returned to reform Traffic and recorded several more albums. In the mid 1980’s he gained mainstream recognition with his multi-platinum mid 80’s solo album “Back In The High Life” which he played the song “Higher Love”.
At 9:00 the band began to walk on the dimly lit stage to their instruments……..a spotlight on to Steve Winwood as he walked onto the stage to a warm and sincere loving roar of welcome from the crowd of his fans, friends and family anxiously waiting in the Pantages Theater.
They got right down to business and they sounded simply perfect in every way. Happy musicans working together pumping out a REAL and powerful blend of the tightest and heaviest laid down rhythm and blues one could ever imagine watching.
Steve Winwood’s current band is incredible. I must say that these gentlemen knew what they were doing. You KNEW that these were hand chosen players by Winwood to tour with him and to interpret Winwood’s desire to play his music in 2014. They were the cream of the crop players without any doubt in my mind.
There were no explosions, no wireless mics taped or shoved down the back of their pants. No theatrics, no laser lights, nothing just 5 very talented musicians.
It was puzzleing as to where the bass player was I don’t know if the bass parts were recorded and played back or if Winwood was playing them somehow behind that antique wooden Hammond organ that sounded so sonically powerful, rich and mellow……the Hammond organ horn spinning and whirling around from the cabinet aside him.
It was pure enjoyment to hear and watch these cats throw it down nonstop for 2 hours straight. Winwood played some fantastic Traffic material that was just so calming and so brilliantly grooving. The Traffic songs were entrancing and Winwood was obviously thoroughly enjoying his own performance. His band members were also enjoying the evenings magic as well. Smiles were abound on the bands faces, the crowds faces and surely Steve’s face as the crowd stood and applauded him with love and respect loudly and harmoniously at ever chance.
The crowd could not contain themselves at times and you could see women standing and dancing periodically.People were bopping their heads feverishly with excitement and with overwhelming musical grooviness, I came real close to leaving my seat to go dance in the isle by myself. It was sounding THAT GOOD that the crowd wanted to start dancing.
Steve played a nice blended variety of material that spanned the multi-decades evolution of his legendary and historical journey. I stand and applaud for Steve Winwood as I close this review…..for it is with amazing human beings like Steve Winwood that stay true to the roots of all musical influences and he certainly has carved an eternal and valuable legend for himself, for us and for future generations to discover and enjoy.
Review: Darren Bennion and Alex Kluft