This was a bit of an interesting twist on my musical misadventures, and that is because never have I heard this particular group play live before.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve heard PoaD before. I hear them every time I turn my Pandora playlists to shuffle and shut my eyes; the undertone of sleek urban funk topped with a helping of soul is difficult to miss. And last year, they were the ones that rounded out the series, and I didn’t have a chance to go – until today.
(yes, Ken, this is your doing!)
This time, I went on just the late sailing, and between Curtis and James, there was plenty of funk to be had. Strong melodies, a great flavor and a lot of new blood. Tony Watson, Jr. on the three saxes (though he didn’t pick up the tenor once) was incendiary, to say the least, and doesn’t look a day past 25. He lit into an alto-sax solo mid-show with gusto that I’ve heard in the past from Michael Lington and Andrew Neu with phenomenal effect. David Dyson on bass, another youngin, took the funk and turned it up – way up.
The audience was on their feet, and so was I. However, this time I took a few moments to slip away and go above, on the top deck for some outside air and was treated to something that, well, is only possible here on the Spirit Cruises: a New York City Contact High.
You’ve seen the postcards. You’ve seen the pictures, the paintings, you’ve heard the testimonials. And you may’ve heard people saying that there’s nothing that quite matches seeing it in person, and I may well be one of them. But seeing the Lower Manhattan skyline with both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges lit up, on a clear night with nothing but a breeze in the sky – no oppressive humidity or overwhelming heat – with Pieces of a Dream as a soundtrack… now that’s a dream indeed. Standing on that top deck last night was a firm reminder to me of why I’m in love with this city. The energy of that view, that music and that setting is something that defies description.
Next up – RnR one week from now! Rick Braun & Richard Elliot once got together for a project, and it became an absolute hit. Tiger-striped tenor sax and a classic trumpet is a smile in the making.