Saturday night, April 27, my wife and I sat in a front row seat at the Soulbeat’s TV produced Chaka Khan & Barry White Tribute. I usually don’t get into imitators of musical stars. Not because I don’t think it can be accomplished; I hate to listen to someone screw up a classic R&B song. Well, that was not a problem for all those who took the stage at Pittsburg’s California Theater. Warren Foster Sr., Chief Executive at the Bay Area’s Soulbeat Television, via Spotlight on the Bay produces quality programming. That is what assured me that the show would be real as real could get…and it was a showstopping jam that night.
Folks there was a band name Obama. I’ve got to tell you; the Obama Band practically tore the roof off the sucker. That six-member R&B Band left an indelible impression on me. They opened up the show and played a driving R&B tuned that had me shaking my head and tapping my feet. An opening performance relayed the fact that they came to play some music. Rephrase that into the street talk, meaning…they’re gonna be jamming up in here tonight. They could lay down the sounds of a professional band. They played the funk from a few Chaka Khan’s Band, Rufus. It was as if Rufus was performing in the house. The Obama’s never missed a beat.
They played that classic melodic cut from Luther Vandross’s and his band; A House is not a Home. Adding a few more of Luther’s hits while multi-talented vocalist Greg Ballard sang the lyrics. If you had not been at the California Theater at that particular time, you would have sworn that Luther had risen from the dead to grace the stage.
Ballard was also the main vocalist during the Barry White song tribute. Again, if you closed your eyes, you would have thought Barry White was singing on the California Theaters stage.
Niecey Living Single graced the stage while declaring she is not Chaka Khan. She belted out in a clear voice her version of Chaka Khans and Rufus songs. Tell Me Something Good, Once you Get Started, to name a couple. I do agree with Niecey. Who will told the audience, she is not Chaka Khan. But she sang Chaka, Chaka, Chaka Khans hits with extraordinary ease of talent. And the Obamas played on.
The proof in the pudding. My wife was entertained at this show and evidenced by the patting of her feet and movement of her head during the entire show. She, along with an enthusiastic audience was well into the show and its stars.
As the Obama’s kept the beats, with the drums, percussions, guitars, synthesizers live, three background singers carried out their assignments. They chimed in at the appropriate time with blended humming or lyrics required of the songs.
And least of all, let me not forget the three shapely women dancers. They were on stage to add to the variety of the show. Their main job was to shake their rumps to the funk. Mission accomplished in my view. They certainly got my attention. That despite the presence of my lovely wife sitting in the seat beside me. Hey, …she knows where my heart lies. What can I say; I was just into the show.
An assortment of ladies from the audience joined Niecey and the cast for a vociferous version of Chaka Khans, I’m Every Woman. At that point, they all did a fantastic job. With the reason being, they were into the show.
All in all, a great time was had by all involved. Please allow me to be redundant. I want to make a point. The Thirty Dollar ticket price was money well spent.
They have numerous shows coming up. Comedies take the stage on May 3. After which, they’re bringing another Tribute Show to the California Theatre in Pittsburg. This time for the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. I’ll also be there for that one.
I, and if you talk to Warren, realize this is not only great entertainment. It speaks to our culture. If you don’t know where you came from, you will never figure out where you are going. Hip Hop commands the scene these days. It was Blues, Jazz, and R&B that shaped the musical and overall culture in the United States. That is why shoes like these, original R&B artist touring, movies, television, speak to who we are in society. It will do you good to read up on the history of black music. Soulbeat TV may not be the first to put on these imitation shows, but they certainly have put themselves out there as a major player of quality programming.
Let me be another who adds a mountain of respect for Soulbeat TV’s productions. Go to the following link to see for yourself, http://www.soulbeat.tv/show-your-soul Yes, I bend the knee at productions that showcase the soul of our culture in which music is primary but only one aspect of Black History.
Peace & Blessing, stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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