Robert Randolph & The Family Band

What an awesome show! If you weren't at the Cabaret du Plateau last night, you should have been and if you were there, you know exactly what I mean. My friend felt last night's concert was probably the best show to play Montreal for 2003 and I believe him.

The music began with some crazy blues rock from the Los Lonely Boys; three brothers from Austin Texas. This terrific opening act revved up the crowd with harmonizing vocals and fantastic musicianship. The Los Lonely Boys ended their hour set with some fancy guitar tricks that drew the crowd closer to the stage.

After a short intermission the crowd was ready to groove and Robert Randolph (vocals and pedal steel guitar) and cousins Danyel Morgan (bass and vocals) and Marcus Randolph (drums) along with ex-Susan Tedeschi keyboardist Jason Crosby were met with excited applause. As spine tingling chords ripped off of the pedal steel guitar you just knew you were in for an amazing show. The band broke into "Calypso" with full band accompaniment. Robert Randolph took over the stage with the air of a man born to perform. The first three songs "Calypso," "Ted's Jam" and "The March" were free wheeling numbers that included several inspired jams and involved no vocals. The song "Shake Your Hips" included Randolph performing a hokey dance and encouraged the crowd to take part. The audience was encouraged to scream for joy, to dance as fast and as hard as they could for as long as they didn't collapse into some kind of blissful exhaustion. The quartet completely captivated the 200 fans who were by and large in full motion o­n the dance floor. Unfortunately the recently renovated Cabaret du Plateau was about half full.

Randolph's constant smile was contagious and added to the positive energy this band effortlessly radiates. It was a total look of joy that made me want to smile along with him. At o­ne point during the show a few audience members were pulled o­nto the stage and boogied along with the band. Later o­n Randolph passed his microphone into the audience during "I Need More Love" and everyone had their chance to sing into the mic during the song's chorus; "I Feel Good Everyday."

There was no way to remain separate from this performance. Although the show may have been vociferously loud it was worth every moment. This evening of fun, revelry and pure blissful tunes was made possible by Robert Randolph who stated that "If you've got love in your heart don't be afraid to let it out;" it was obvious that everyone in attendance last night shared in that love and joy that emanated from these four guys from New Jersey. Let's hope that The Robert Randolph Family Band will bring there positive vibes back to Montreal soon; it would be wonderful to watch them turn o­n a much larger audience; perhaps at our upcoming Jazz Fest next summer.

(Robert Randolph set duration time 150 minutes approximately)

(Set list courtesy of Dan Solomon)

Ted's Jam
The March
Pressing My Way
Shake Your Hips
Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Billie Jean
I Need More Love
Good Times Bad Times
Purple Haze
I Don't Know What You Come To Do