Philadelphia 2014

Hi everybody,

Here’s an amazing little stage perspective visual viewpoint. I’m constantly checking my audience for responses to the music– laughing, dancing, and singing along. At some point, late in the evening, when they have been totally saturated and satiated from a David Sanborn performance…the stage still a smoking rubble 🙂 …I began to see people exiting the venue. Well… IT HAD STARTED TO RAIN AND I DIDN’T KNOW!

So about Philadelphia, in totality, there’s a resounding “yes” – thumbs up – a great day! Driving into town, I can’t help thinking how fantastic it’s been to find myself in several of the great “homecoming” cities for me. Washington DC, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Detroit, and now Philadelphia. This audience was one of the first in America to greet my music with understanding and open arms shouting, “Go ‘head Al, press on!” So when we find little moments to share this idea of “homecoming” and the sustaining of this sort of joyful, peaceful, and uplifting music, there’s a big nodding of heads and lots of “mmhms” and “amens”. And so they get it when I thank them for returning there again tonight…”homecoming”.

We made some changes in songs for this evening as we gradually tried to incorporate more songs from the George Duke tribute album. Speaking of new and exciting, guitarist extraordinaire John Calderon still has his hair standing and on fire continuing to run in one place like a two year old who has just dropped his ice cream. His amp blew out…everything but smoke and fire…seconds before his screaming solo in “Cold Duck”. Well…I’ve never seen that on my stage. Maybe it has happened to John before. So guess what? I looked at Larry; he cranked up his special sound on his keyboard and played that solo like it was his since the beginning. Now here’s the deal…that was so important for a person in the audience to observe. First the glitch and then the improvised repair with a great finish. And finally, if you care to look, a great descriptive moment of some great truths and realities about all of this. This kind of improvised music is one of those great settings that describes its own insides and so much more. The George Duke tribute album additions were lovely and going to be great. By the time we reached our “Roof Garden/Reach for It” medley, these people who had been listening to music since 1pm, including David Sanborn’s “white fire”, were on their feet grooving to the funk and appreciating the connection between me and George and our courageous insistence on revisiting that masterpiece. I think I saw George Clinton smiling out there.

Backstage David Sanborn and I talked about boots strapping and persevering. We both recall one of George Duke’s favorite sayings as we watched the great changes of the industry going on around us…just trying to make a living, man. Anyway, we were glad to see BB Green who’s managed Marcus Miller since she was a baby…a very smart baby. Marcus played in David’s band and produced several of his records so you can imagine the satisfying smiles we grinned.

It’s always a relief when you see your promoter smiling after the concert. Susan almost seemed to be suppressing a giggle and she guided us to a sold out CD signing.

Now that’s a homecoming.

Thank you, Philadelphia!



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