Keb’ Mo’ looked like a vintage blues man as he walked out on The Music Center at Strathmore’s Concert Hall stage with his resonator guitar. He opened his show with the beautiful “Every Morning” without his band. Authentic blues poured out of his guitar with his smooth vocals singing heartfelt contemporary lyrics.
The show continued with “Actions Speak Louder than Words” which he performed on his resonator guitar. As he performed – his band started to work in – first came the drummer Les Falconer who really laid down the beat. He briefly changed his guitar to an acoustic parlor style guitar for “Hand it Over.” Keb’ switched back to a resonator guitar for the heartbreaking “Standin’ at the Station”- real blues about a man standing at a train station with tears in his eyes after his woman has gone away. He returned to the acoustic guitar for a more uplifting song called “Life is Beautiful.”
Next, Keb’ plugged in his customized Fender Stratocaster for the next song and was joined by the rest of the band. Vail Johnson was keeping rhythm on the bass and Michael Hicks contributed his talents on the organs and keyboards. “Government Cheese” was a fun song which garnered a few smiles from the audience. Next he performed “My Babies Tellin’ Lies” and the interesting song “France.”
Keb’ Mo and his band performed for over two hours. Along the way he made sure to showcase his talented band. He talked to the crowd and even flirted with a pretty lady in a balcony close the stage. Keb’ Mo’ covered the familiar blues topics of heartaches and hard times. His songs were playful at times, heartfelt at times, and were refreshingly his own. His voice was smooth, conveying the emotions of the songs while his guitar player was stellar – but never flashy.
One of the most touching songs he performed was “We Don’t Need It” about not having a job and his family giving up stuff to get by. It was a song that could bring out tear drops. Probably the best musical moment happened when they all took turns singing “America” as they blended the song in with a version of “Shave Yo’ Legs,” which was a humorous song with a serious message of loving the inner person.
Keb’ Mo’ ended his set with a song called “The Door.” He returned to the stage for a two song encore. The first one was “Am I Wrong” which was featured in the Best of the Blues soundtrack for Martin Scorsese. He finished the show with “She Just Wants to Dance” which many in the crowd wanted him to do. Keb’ Mo’s performance certainly showed why he is considered to be one of today’s best blues artists.
Running time: Approximately Two hours and 15 minutes.
Keb’ Mo’s website.