Review: Bobby Womack in Auckland

Last updated 18:19 19/05/2013
Bobby Womack
HALL OF FAMER: Bobby Womack.

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Bobby Womack
The Civic, The Edge, Auckland
Saturday, May 18

Dressed in a red (what looked like) vinyl suit, and cap, when Bobby Womack took the stage he could easily be mistaken for any modern day pop star.

Bordering on 70 years old, there was a question mark sitting over the crowd as to whether or not he still had it.

But half a minute into his early 70's hit, Across 110th Street, it was fairly obvious the old adage, "you're only as old as you feel" definitely applies to Womack.

Though moving a little slower now, he worked the stage, the crowd and belted out those soulful notes like someone half his age and still turned on that same ol' charm for all the ladies looking for love.

His backing band were easily all on the same level, and I've never seen support so incredibly stoked to be there. 

There were the ridiculously talented backup singers, Lisa K. Coulter, Bobby's daughter, GinaRe Womack and the amazingly talented Altrinna Grayson, who became Mary Hippie in a soul charging rendition of Harry Hippie, in which her heart breakingly powerful voice breathed new life into the old song and she won over the crowd in an instant.

Percussionist, Tony Flores was a one man party in the back corner sweeping between all manner of drums and chimes so fluidly it looked effortless.

They played a non-stop set list of favourites, including That's the Way I Feel About Cha, Woman's Gotta Have it, If You Think You're Lonely Now and many, many more.

He played tributes to the old greats, from singing Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come with his daughter, GinaRe to holding a seance of sorts, to channel the soul of Marvin Gaye for a brief bit of his hit, What's Going On.

When the band left the stage and the house lights came up, the audience was having none of it. We stood firmly planted in front of the stage demanding an encore, and we got one. 

Though, it wasn't hard. 

Even after wrapping up the encore, I've never seen an act so unwilling to leave the stage. I firmly believe they were as happy to be there as we were to have them, and as Womack was led off stage, Grayson sang along to the crowd's applause before she and the band left us feeling fairly awed.

It was the kind of show where you know you've witnessed something special, a once in a lifetime kind of talent, and the kind of soul music this new generation is at risk of losing. 

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We need people who believe in music, and the things they sing about, and having a good time on stage - not just making money. We need people like Bobby Womack.

And if the tracks he played from his latest album were anything to go by, I'd say he's got a lot more to give.

- Stuff


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