Charles Bradley Show Review

Venue: Bluebird Theater

Location: Denver, Colorado

Date: 09/12/15

Inebriation Level: 12 Hours Of Straight Drinking

The Screaming Eagle of Soul was coming to Denver and I wasn’t going to miss it. I’d been jamming since his 2011 debut and know he’s about as close as you’re going to get to old school Soul. I had finally just watched his documentary on Netflix (while chilling of course) to get all hyped up for the show. It was Soul time.

Convincing someone to come along proved to be damn difficult, which doesn’t make sense, because everyone needs a little Soul (I think that’s a song). Finally I convinced my man Brad to come along, but the problem was we had some other plans that day. With a volleyball tourney in the morning and a food/drink festival in the afternoon, we were quite liquored up come Saturday night. By the start of the concert we had a solid 12 hours of drinking under our belts, and because I was so drunk, I actually got to the concert on time. Pretty sure that has never happened ever.

sign

Because we got there on time (not early, never early) we snagged a spot right on the rails of the balcony with a great view of the stage. Since GA concerts always bring the tallest humans on earth to the crowd, it was a solid move. The opener was the local band Plum and they brought a pretty wicked Psychedelic sound, though didn’t bring much energy to the stage.

Once the stage was set for Bradley, his band came out to warm up the crowd a bit. He no longer tours with the Daptone house band, The Menahan Street Band, but with his own band, The Extraordinaires. After they warmed up the stage, the keyboard player came out to give Bradley a big introduction, much in the same vain as Danny Ray, the famous MC that introduced James Brown and then brought out the cape at the end of the show.

They started slow with the closer to No Time For Dreaming “Heartaches And Pain,” and then Bradley disappeared. He’s pretty old so there’s a myriad of activities he could have been up to backstage, I’m assuming something involving prune juice, a shot of oxygen, and a power nap.

charles

After some more MC hype he came back and they launched into a really groovy “Love Bug Blues.” Then it was onto one of his strongest tracks, “The World (Is Going Up In Flames),” the opener on his debut album. Now they were cooking. The hipsters were dancing, the band was tight, and Charles Bradley started to deliver some Soul. He held out arms to the audience, he dropped to this knees, he did some kind of weird grinding dance. Most of all, he lived up to his name. The Screaming Eagle of Soul was making the walls of the Bluebird shake when he yelled “Yeah!”

After a very gracious monologue to the crowd, it certainly seemed like the humbled man that we saw in the Soul of America documentary was the same guy bringing down the house at the Bluebird. He seemed genuinely grateful to be on stage, showering the “ladies and gentlemans” with “I love you” after ever song. Yet he was the guy we came to see, surrounded by a sold out crowd of screaming and grooving fans. For a 66 year old guy that had been homeless only a few years before, it sure wasn’t too shabby.

bradley

He kept rocking with his hits and living up to his name with “How Long” and then subdued it a bit with “You Put The Flame On It.” They destroyed it with the rare Record Store Day release “Ain’t It A Sin.” Finally things slowed down for “Lovin’ You, Baby” and “Strictly Reserved For You” before the awesomely Psychedelic “Confusion.”

They ended the show with “Let Love Stand A Chance” from Victim Of Love before going around to each member of the band for a little solo and some love from the crowd. Then he grabbed the bouquet of roses that was at the front of the stage, walked down into the audience, and the show was over. Maybe it was his bedtime.

The show was short and sweet with some good points and some screaming high points. Charles Bradley definitely delivered and had even more soul in real life than on his records. I’ve never seen anyone who can make your ears ring by delivering one “Yeah,” but I’ll be damned, there’s only one Screaming Eagle Of Soul out there.

4/5: Awesome

4 Records

Set List:

Heartaches And Pain
Love Bug Blues
The World (Is Going Up In Flames)
How Long
You Put The Flame On It
Ain’t It A Sin
Lovin’ You, Baby
Strictly Reserved For You
Confusion
Let Love Stand a Chance

*Note* I was pretty wasted, so this set list probably isn’t accurate…

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