Bobby landed the gig squarely at the corner of Rhythm & Blues…

…and that was just fine. Though Caldwell has turned out a couple of standards albums, far and away his hit singles come from the R&B realm and he pretty much stayed there for most of his One World gig last Saturday.

Bobby draped songs he wrote for Al Jarreau, The Commodores and the like in and around some of his own chart toppers — none bigger than his claim to fame … the huge hit: “What You Won’t Do For Love”. I thought an Earth, Wind and Fire concert was going to break out at any minute! ūüėČ

Hey, the R&Bness was to be expected, perfectly OK by me (my wife was in heaven!) … the mixed bag part comes from obvious production issues that I’ve never experienced at One World before.¬†

¬†Production woes…

Sadly, Bobby’s mic was flaring in and out of what sounded like amplitude distortion the entire concert. On some numbers it was subtle but on most of the songs his vocals came with a “grunge filter” effect that was definitely not the ticket. Bobby’s Youtube videos have better production value than his setup delivered for him most of the night.

The audio board seemed generally unbalanced though out … the back-up vocals from the band (great musicians and vocalists) were clear and tight — way better that Bob’s (sigh) but their instrument volumes were distractingly uneven. Again the worst affect from this problem was Bobby’s keyboard and guitar efforts which seemed woefully light and blown out by the other guys.

The Standards did indeed make an appearance…

…strong in Bobby’s delivery if not their number. Caldwell broke out the American Songbook with an original — sort of bluesy standard style number called “Stuck On You” … a very nice song that kicked BC over to a pretty cool version of “Beyond the Sea” … the second of four standards titles that made the scene Saturday. I’ve always liked BC’s R&B vocal style pressed into his standards renditions and these two numbers were right there.

Near the end of his set list came “Let It Be Me” from the Everly Brothers. It was nice but this was one of the songs where the distortion on Caldwell’s mic took away the gild from his vocals … a shame.

But what an encore!

BC worked hard for 90+ minutes and did a great job — production issues aside. Then he made the audience work a bit for an encore … I actually saw some VIPers on the front row take off after giving it all of 30-45 seconds and man, did they miss out big time.

Bobby and team came back and delivered the best song of the night … a funky and wicked version of “At Last” that blew me away.

This song made my night! It seemed to go on for 10 minutes with some funkadelic keyboard and guitar riffs that had me scanning the stage for George Clinton … but at it’s heart Bobby and his back up vocalists delivered a very cool edition of the song Etta James made a hit in 1960 (but was first performed by Glenn Miller about 20 years earlier … Glenn rocked!).

Maybe I was used to the distortion by this point or maybe they finally got it dialed in but BC’s vocals were the best of the night and the room was on fire!

Overall it was great fun …

My wife got her Smooth Jazz/R&B fix and I ended up hearing a phunktastic rendition of ¬†“At Last”. Bobby Caldwell is a kick … if you’re into a hearty portion of R&B with your standards, you should certainly catch his act.

[The video below is from a concert a few years back in Japan but it gives you a great feel for Bobby Caldwell’s “standards style”.]

 

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