Sunday, February 17, 2013

To Sir With...Uh...Uh...LOVE!

It's hard to believe that Lulu's appearance on Saturday night at B.B. King's was her NYC debut. How is that possible? I guess I have to believe her as she's never lied to me before. Backed by the core of The Fab Faux-- Jimmy Vivino on guitar, Will Lee on bass and Rich Pagano on drums, and augmented by the always entertaining Paul Shaffer on keys, as well as four back-up singers which included the great Elaine Caswell, this 64 year-old, 15 year-old British sensation pretty much blew the packed house away.

It was a night of American music, as Lulu finds British music to be "rubbish." The singer and her band made their way through R&B classics such as "Unchain My Heart," "I'm Tore Down," "Cry To Me" and "Try A Little Tenderness," all of which were sung and played as if this group has been touring together for ages. I have to admit, I was grinning like an idiot for most of the show. It was that good, and quite frankly, I couldn't believe I was 20 feet from Lulu. I also had no idea that Lulu wrote "I Don't Wanna Fight," that huge hit for Tina Turner. She did that one, too. Also, fantastic.

The two moments though, that left me weak at the knees and a bit ferklempt, were the absolutely stunning version of "Oh Me Oh My" and the surprise reading of Derek & The Dominoes "Bell Bottom Blues." Hole E. Crap!

Now here's where it took a slight turn into Annoyingville.

It's fair to say that the capacity crowd was there to hear "To Sir With Love," yes? I mean, not just "To Sir With Love," but you know what I'm saying. Are there any more frightening words uttered on stage by a famous rock star than, "We'd like to do a new arrangement of....?" Oh really Lulu? You mean, you'd like to do your most famous hit as a samba? OH GOOD! That's why we are all here.

Well, it wasn't that drastic.

The band did the Al Green arrangement of "To Sir With Love" and kept the legendary intro from the original single. It would have worked and been another highlight in an evening of highlights except Lulu forgot the lyrics. Luuuu LUUUUUU! How could you? I hate when that happens.

That slightly more than minor annoyance did not ruin what was a truly special night.

I was searching YouTube for a version of either "Oh Me Oh My" or "Bell Bottom Blues," and I came across this:

This was filmed on February 1st at NYC's Highline Ballroom. I guess Lulu did lie to me.


A walk in the woods said...

Not sure if plastic surgery or honest good livin' is to credit, but she still looks GOOD!

The worst thing is when they "reggae up" an old standard. If she just "Al Green'ed it up," I guess that's OK...

Alan said...

Great post, Sal, as usual. One beef: "... always entertaining Paul Shaffer...?!" Mmmmmm... no.

Albert said...

Well...first....she's in FINE voice...great to hear...second....she looks great....good for her....and don't be angry with her Sal or else she may never want to play NYC again!!

steve simels said...

Have you ever seen the documentary on Scott Walker -- 30 Century Man?

There's a hilarious interview with Lulu where she basically creams in her jeans trying to describe how good looking Walker was back in the day.

Anyway, nice to see she's still got it, and spectacularly so.