Wests Leagues Club, Lambton
Sunday September 6, 2015 :
As the nine piece band took the stage on Sunday night at Wests you could not help but think, what did a former runner up in American Idol and a classic rock jazz combination possibly have in common? To witness Bo Bice on stage with Blood Sweat & Tears, the answer is very simple – power, presence combined with a genuine respect and love for the music equals magic.
Although now lead singer Bice was born in 1975, some eight years, multiple awards and albums after Blood Sweat & Tears was formed, you can’t help but think they were destined to collide with each other. Maybe his mum installed quality music and he absorbed it via osmosis, it’s anyone’s guess. Taking the stage in jeans, armed with a microphone and stand symbolising the rock background he is so proudly from, Bice is a true superstar, power in the voice and gigantic in stage presence. Whilst you would think he would have an ego to match, he is humble and likeable, pausing to tell various audience members he “loved them” throughout the night.
The band kicked off the night in style, launching into ‘Lucretia Mac Evil’ complete with a four piece brass section and showing the nearly full house what kind of night it was going to be. Horns, saxophones and even a flute solo followed through the next ninety minutes together with multiple stories.
Blood Sweat & Tears has been a musician’s launching platform of the past 43 years with almost 150 members claiming time with the band on their musician’s resume. The band is incredibly tight, skilled and enjoyable from every angle. You rarely get to see brass in a band let alone four of them on stage at once. Throughout the transition through songs, brass figured heavily which is no surprise if you know their catalogue of albums. In total the nine musicians work in harmony to take the audience back before social media ruled the world.
There were big expectations for Bice which he honestly handled without raising a sweat. During the night he cruised through some of the band’s best-known hits, including ‘Hi-De-Ho’, the Carole King classic which went over well. The introduction of ‘Spinning Wheel’, arguably the band’s biggest hit and ironically Bice’s segway into the band who first heard him sing the song on American Idol was well received. The band finished the night with the 1969 hit, ‘You’ve Made Me So Very Happy’, sung in a way to please the hardest critic.
Overall the band lead by Bice seemed to ooze a comfort well ahead of their years. For me the highlight was Bice and brass who handled the immense pressure of singing some of modern music’s most iconic songs. It has been nineteen years since the band last toured, and hopefully they will not leave it that long again. Thoroughly enjoyed.
Lucretia MacEvil, Almost Sorry, Hi De Ho, I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know, Go Down Gamblin’, Mercy, God Bless the Child, And When I Die, Spinning Wheel
You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
Reviewer and Photographer: David Jackson