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Issue 1092

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Tower of Power + Incognito: Royal Albert Hall, London 30/5/19

Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com
Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com Tower of Power 50th Anniversary show at Royal Albert Hall, London 12/5/19 @bluesandsoul.com

Who on earth brings 14 band members as a support act? Bluey, that’s who. With five vocalists, sax, bass, trumpet, trombone, guitar and keys strung in a line across, and filling, the Albert Hall stage you knew this was going to be a special night. Drums, percussion and bass completed the band.

“I thought my band was old at 40 years” says Bluey, Incognito’s founder. “I said we were not going to open for anyone this year and then the people who gave me musical inspiration and started it all for me, the Tower of Power, asked. And when the gods ask you answer!”

Incognito played a storming 50 minute-set and the entire audience was up and dancing. Gorgeous vocals, rich harmonies, luscious horns, grooving rhythms and slick guitar work filled the Albert Hall.

After the samba soul of "Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing", Bluey added “You can’t go wrong with a bit of Stevie Wonder, can you? So we’ll have some more!” and launched into a similarly spectacular version of ‘As’.

A largely instrumental number gave the musicians a chance to shine before the band ended with "Everyday" and the monster "Always There". Bluey left with the message “Music unites us, it makes us what we are, truly one nation under the groove.”

Celebrating 50 years, Tower of Power opened with "I Like Your Style". There followed ninety magic minutes of soul magnificence, with blistering horns from the five-strong section backed by bass and guitar, the mighty Hammond B3 of Roger Smith, David Garibaldi on drums and fronted by vocal sensation Marcus Scott.

"Soul with a capital S" followed and "Only So Much Oil In The Ground". “Y’all ready to keep this party going? This is the Tower of Power party!” screamed Scott, who could get a party going in a chamber of commerce networking event such is his electrifying energy, charisma and vocal pyrotechnics.

Tower of Power have a new album out "The Soul Side Of Town" from which the ultra funky "Do You Like That" made the Albert Hall set. Group founder Emilio Castillo said they’ve recorded so many new songs that there’s another album out soon, plus a DVD of the 50th Anniversary concert in their hometown of Oakland, California.

“We’d like to take you back all the way to 1969", he said before "You’re Still A Young Man". Castillo and the others still play like young men and he took the lead on the James Brown medley.

He recounted he hired Stephen ‘Doc’ Kupka after Kupka had said: “You’ve got a nice band, but there’s one thing wrong, you need a little bari”. The baritone hits the spot and drives the brass section.

"So Very Hard To Go" was the song of the night and the classic "What Is Hip" and "Souled Out" closed this stunning show.

PHOTOS: MARTIN PORTER martsartsphotography.com
Words CHAZ BROOKS

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