Soulive, Lettuce, Nigel Hall and special guests John Scofield, Talib Kweli, Big Sam, Christian Scott, Maurice Brown, & The Shady Horns, + many more (To be honest with you- I lost count.)
Ha ha, ball!
Only a special occasion would get me to set foot (feet) inside Terminal 5 again. There's very little I like about the venue. Horrible sight-lines inside a generically industrial building with atrocious sound and the eery feeling you're standing in a death-trap. That said, when Mark texted me to go see the Royal Family Ball last week, a great lineup and good friends weren't enough to win me over. However, the words "all access" were. Perhaps I just needed to experience Terminal 5 like an Important Person rather than Some Regular Douchebag.
But first, dinner. And if you're out of the way over yonder in midtown West, that's reason enough to get some dinner at Daisy May's BBQ. Mark and I enjoyed our feast on the front counter.
Then we headed over to Terminal 5 where we were made to stand on line with The Normies / Regular Douchebags (GASPS)! What is this? "Very Important People don't stand on lines, Mark."
The music started really early and we missed Nigel Hall's set for BBQ- a way good cause (did I mention the mac & cheese?). He would undoubtedly be jumping onstage throughout the night, so that eased the sads.
When we walked in, Terminal 5 was pretty packed and Lettuce already had the place getting DOWN. John Scofield came out and jammed for a few songs. Nigel Hall & Talib Kweli also came out and got the crowd nice and riled up.
Some drunk chick was raging-psyched and decided to explain to me (unsolicited) that "This is awesome and Soulive aren't anything like a stupid jerkface jamband and shouldn't be associated with that kind of shit^." I politely disagreed and decided not to point out that the band onstage at that moment was actually Lettuce. It's funnier that way. It was time to relocate.
Please note, the only reason I *did* get to see (most of) the stage for this set was because we were upstairs, adjacent to the stage, holding the black curtains open so we could watch. It was a pretty cool view, but who wants to hold a 70 foot velvet curtain back for 3 hours? Certainly not an Important Person like myself.
No, I had better things to do- namely, drink tequila out of thimble sized florescent orange shot glasses and wait for the perfect moment to snag an empty spot on the rail for the Soulive set. I've been to Soulive shows where I can't see the band and it's upsetting/traumatic. As it happens, Soulive hit the stage and *YOINK*. Spot secured. It was that easy. Great view too, but right next to the floating speaker stack. Sacrifices. Around the 3rd song my ear filters went in. Love those things!
Soulive played 3 or 4 songs off the Rubber Soulive record before inviting the extended Royal Family onstage for the rest of the night. The lineup was quickly switching off and basically starred everyone listed on the poster at one point or another. The size of the horn section fluctuated per song, sometimes 3, sometimes 7. At all times were they great. John Scofield took the reigns on a few solos and Nigel Hall rocked the vocals. It was a brilliant stage full of music.
And then Soulive invited another special guest onstage-- Warren Haynes, for Under A Bad Sign. Warren totally fucking shredded it while he and Nigel Hall split the vocals. It was a magnificent bluesy punch to the gut. Now that's a fucking cameo!
They completed the night with a James Brown medley, starring Nigel Hall, who took it over the edge and whipped the crowd into an absolute frenzy. Well done, Sir!
The typical Terminal 5 breakdown: shitty sight-lines, overpriced drinks, dodgy/uneven sound around the room, black lights in the bathroom (why?). There's apparently a roof deck now, but I didn't check it out. As far as having an All Access pass went, it was easier to move around and I can guarantee you it was the only reason I got to see any musicians with my own eyes. Also, the coat-check girl was kind of a @#%$ and I witnessed that without even having a coat to check. If I were a more judgemental person, I'd probably venture to guess that if I wore that much red lipstick and cut myself for fun, I'd probably have a shitty attitude too.
I have seen Soulive go from one of their very first shows in 1999, at a memorably sticky-floored sold out Club Metronome in Burlington, VT ($3 cover?), to being the heart and soul of this giant crazy night of music- The Royal Family Ball, 11+ years later. They've built an Empire and it fucking rocks! Though, sometimes I really miss the suits and short hair. Holla.
The Royal Family Ball: Soulive, Lettuce, Nigel Hall and special guests John Scofield, Talib Kweli, Big Sam, Christian Scott, Maurice Brown, & The Shady Horns + etc., etc., etc., 10/2/10, T5 (still bleah), NYC: 7.5^^ HUZZAHS!
Royal Family Records has some great footage up here: http://www.royalfamilyrecords.com/news/post/royal-family-ball-thank-you
SETLISTS (thanks, jambands.com!)
King of the Bergs
Move Somethin w/ Talib Kweli
The Blast w/ Talib Kweli
Get By w/ Talib Kweli
The Flu w/ John Scofield
Move On Up w/ John Scofield
Makin My Way Back Home
Something In The Way
I Want You
What You See Is What You Get w/ John Scofield
Hottentot – w/ John Scofield
Born Under a Bad Sign w/ John Scofield, Warren Haynes
Do The 2
James Brown Medley w/ John Scofield
^^ T5 deductions.