To say Steve Winwood has been around is quite the understatement. Winwood has played with so many artists and has been an integral part of several bands during his career. His performance Friday night at the CMAC (Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center) was one for the books. Not only did he and Michael Franti & Spearhead kick off the 2012 summer concert schedule in fine fashion, he played songs from almost every phase of his career.
Winwood started the show behind his organ for the first two songs before bringing out his guitar. He alternated throughout the night on and off between the two instruments. His band were no slouches either. Winwood was backed by guitarist Jose´ Neto, drummer Richard Bailey, percussionist Cafe Da Silva and multi-instrumentalist Paul Booth. The pace of the show heightened when Winwood delved out the Blind Faith classic “Can’t Find My Way Home”. The fans of his work with Traffic were treated with no less than five cuts including an elongated version of “Light Up And Leave Me Alone”. His most recent album, the 2008 release Nine Lives had three tracks which Steve featured. The lone 80s representative “Higher Love” brought the loudest ovation of the evening and closed out the main set. Back for “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, Winwood featured a very good display of his guitar work during the first song of the encore. “Gimme Some Lovin’”, a song he recorded as a member of the Spencer Davis Group rounded out the show as he had one fan doing a jig while shaking her cane in the air.
Franti along with his band Spearhead started off the festivities with a well paced set that had the crowd into it right from the start. He even played some songs while up in the balcony and even out in the audience at one point. Franti and his band were solid and put on a very high energy show. Michael even took the time to sign autographs and posed for photos with fans for about fifteen minutes following his show in front of the stage.
This show was a very good beginning to the summer concert season for CMAC and for music fans in general. Perhaps the only minor complaint of the evening was the lack of songs that were all over the airwaves in the eighties. Songs such as “The Finer Things” and “Back In The High Life Again”, would have been excellent additions to enhance the show even more.
I’m a Man [Spencer Davis Group Song]
At Times We Do Forget
Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith)
Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic)
Empty Pages (Traffic)
Pearly Queen (Traffic)
Light Up or Leave Me Alone (Traffic)
Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic)
Gimme Some Lovin’ (Spencer Davis Group Song)
Special Thanks to Kim Allen for all her help in assisting us to review the show!