Boz Skaggs October 11, 2008
Good Stuff at Cerritos
By Glen Creason
Boz Skaggs was enthusiastically greeted by a full house at the Performing Arts Center on Saturday evening with well-oiled shouts for his hits from the 70’s. A rather effusive audience this one, insisted on hearing the gold records from his classic albums like “Silk Degrees,” “Lowdown” or “Middle Man.” Of course, the old pro gave them what they wanted but he also made it fun for himself and his solid eight member band by improvising a bit and handing over the solos to this fine group of musicians. The arrangements were tight, the guitars and keyboards were actually sensational and the singing was mostly good but occasionally challenged by the huge wall of sound filled with percussion and bass.
The show was a solid block of good stuff with no breaks and no breathers save a ballad or two like “Desire” or “Harbor Lights” that worked well despite Skaggs vocals that sometimes stayed on the runway a bit before takeoff. Of course, that is the Boz Skaggs style to start slow and build into a passionate full-scale R&B torch song. The rabid and vocal fans in house did not seem to care about details and hooted and hollered ecstatically for the platinum ones like “Lowdown,” “JoJo,” “Slow Dancer” and the bull goose trophy winning “Lido” that set forth an avalanche of appreciation and got the entire joint up on their middle aged feet to shake the collective booty. “Georgia” was typical for the old pro as he started it like a ballad, then tossed the arrangement into second, third and forth gear, ramping it into a real pulse-quickening jam. Amongst that sea of sons and daughters of the 70’s sound I saw plenty of loose limbed dancing.
Skaggs cleverly placed some more esoteric material in the mix and his reading of the old Fats Domino R&B gem “Sick and Tired” was made quite juicy by the brilliant keyboard work of guest David Paich. Skaggs also played just one more fine Allen Toussaint tune, this one “Hercules” that sparkled pretty well some thirty years on and demonstrated Skaggs solid New Orleans influences over the years. David Paich contributed much more in the show, staying on and pumping up the sound, especially on one more of his compositions that was turned into a show-stopper by backup singer Ms. Mone’t. Skaggs generously sat back and watched his band steal his own show for while here when the Ms. also lit up the hall with “Streetlife” and guitar wonder Steve Lukather busted off lightening bolts of lead on “Lido.” Lukather, Skaggs and superb lead guitarist Jon Herington traded licks on the ensuing encores of “Runnin’ Blues” and “Look What You’ve Done to Me” for a lengthy and most enjoyable conclusion to a very good show at the Center.