Saturday, September 21, 2013

Three Men Of Soul: No, No, No! (Howard Hewett, Peabo Bryson, Jeffrey Osborne at the Convention Center in San Antonio, TX)


Howard Hewett, Peabo Bryson, and Jeffrey Osborne -- three of the most refined voices in soul -- all of them in one concert. What more could a soul lover's heart desire? All I have to say about their performance last night at the Convention Center in San Antonio is that the show left more to be desired than I had ever imagined.

If you value both good music and good singing -- don't go to see the show. If you volunteer to pay for a  sub standard sound system that transmits the low ranges only and a band that drowns out the voices of the singers -- feel free to waste your money on a ticket.

From the first moment I heard the drummer I knew the show would probably be a disaster. And it was!

At one point of the concert, the drums got so annoying I was calling for the drummer to be shot. Honestly, that drummer had no clue about how to apply an appropriate amount of force. He worked the drums like a wood chopper hacking away on a stubborn tree trunk. Sorry, I usually don't write negative reviews -- but what I've witnessed last night was an insult to my ears. And not only to my ears. Some people left the show very early, which I should have done too. I decided, however, to stay to the (bitter) end. Almost. When Jeffrey Osbourne, who closed the concert,  began to run across the stage, behaving like a hyper active (and doped-up) Bobby Brown clone, hubby, who had suffered silently through the show, suggested we could leave if I were ready. Sorry I have to say it, but it was a relief to go.

I must emphasize, however, that the singers were absolutely great whenever they managed to triumph over the thumping base and the sledgehammering drums. The worst part of the concert was when the singers -- especially Howard Hewett, and to a somewhat lesser degree Peabo Bryson, vanished for long stretches of time into the audience. The "poor folks" on the balconies were left to look at an empty stage with a mediocre band trying their best to kill the stars' performance -- and the sound of hysterically screaming women amidst a bawling audience. I don't know what was worse. As an alternative, those with the cheap seats could lean over the railings to get a glimpse of Mr. Hewett getting cozy with some "ladies" from the audience.  Those who felt not compelled to crane their necks for the duration of those side shows would have fared better sipping on a margarita or two or three at a noisy pub on the Riverwalk.

Well, I consoled myself over feeling left out by telling myself that all I saw before the empty stage were three well-dressed performers in top physical shape (considering their age) who fell to their knees ever so often or strutted across the stage with a microphone in hand. Thank god, I remembered their voices from the Cd's at home ... I kept wondering if there was a sound engineer anywhere around. Only a few weeks ago we went to see the Patterson Brothers in Austin. Even at the tiny club they performed the acoustic was  excellent thanks to a sound engineer. Maybe the three big guys could hire a professional to ensure a perfect sound.

In regard to the empty stage, I have to say that I understand when performers try to engage their audiences. But it is simply wrong to disregard the rest of the concert goers who happen not to have bought an orchestra floor seat ... The only one who waved (once) to the folks a little further than right in front of them was Peabo. Thanks Peabo! Howard and Jeffrey were not even polite enough to look our way. I must say, I have never seen more rude performers before.

The star of the evening was Peabo Bryson. No doubt about it. He somehow managed to raise his beautiful voice over the background noise. He was simply amazing, and I would risk going to a concert by him alone. His duets with one of the background singers were awesome. He deserves all the credit for his performance.  He did way too much talking, however, between the songs. Most people attend concerts to hear songs not speeches! I had to give the lady next to us a loud "Amen" when she got impatient and hollered "Sing!" during one of Peabo's speeches.

Despite an absolutely amazing performance considering his singing, I had to boo Peabo for leaving the stage way too long. I guess by the time Peabo appeared, I was already angry because of Howard Hewett's excessive absence from the stage. Somehow I felt I was waiting at a traffic light, standing next to one of those obnoxious trucks with their windows down so that everyone should be able to appreciate the boom-boom emitted from the inside. Howard Hewett perhaps spoke longer than he sang, by the way.

My last complaint is about how lousy the transitions between the individual singers were handled. Ridiculous! One singer stopped. The Roadies appeared. Next singer appeared. No introduction of the successors by their co-performers -- just lights on, lights off, here we go.

All in all, a very disappointing experience. Sorry, I love all three of them, but they let me down real bad. Hubby and I consider the money we paid for the tickets a donation to the three of them. We definitely did not get what we had payed for ... Very sad.

(Sorry, for the skimpy editing. We have house guests, and I have only limited time to post.)

Talk to you all later!

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