Friday Night: Rev. Al Green at Arena Theatre
photos by Marco Torres
Rev. Al Green Arena Theatre April 27th, 2012
Mark my words. If you check the local hospitals exactly nine months from now, you will surely see a spike in activity in the maternity wards. Al Green gets everyone and anyone into the baby-making mood. Even the comedian who opened the show alluded to the notion that CVS and Walgreens most likely stock up on Viagra and Cialis according to The Reverend's tour schedule.
Just the opening notes of "Tired of Being Alone" sent the ladies in the audience Friday into a three-minute hormone frenzy the likes of which only a master of love could inspire. And boy, did he ever inspire.
Green's band hit the stage first, and began to crescendo with an energy that made the crowd dance with pleasure. Rev. Green followed onto the circular Arena Theatre platform, decked out in his white coat and sunglasses, armed with his signature long-stemmed roses that he distributes to his adoring lady fans during his shows.
It is a marvel to see a man of his age sing and dance with such vigor and style, showing emotion with every sung word and every move danced. They definitely don't make them like that anymore, and we are damn lucky to see a living legend like him still touring.
With sweat on his brow, he took off his coat and loosened up a bit, pushing his band into the next song. He sure is a confident fellow, but without a hint of arrogance. He knows he has "it," and lets it shine with a brilliance. "I'm not worried 'bout nobody taking my spot," he told us. "Jesus gave it to ME!"
And with that, he meanders into "Amazing Grace." The feeling of the whole audience singing the gospel gave me the chills, and it filled the room with what can only be described as "the spirit"... most likely of the holy variety.
After offering us a smattering of his catalog of hits, he unloaded "something special just for Houston." The "something special" is a string of covers of several '60s soul artists like The Temptations, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. Now, I cover much of the rap shows that travel through Houston, so his next bit seemed as if he was speaking directly to me. He told me:
"That's the music I like. You like that rap stuff, yes you do! But this is my music!"
Yes, sir. I will honor my father and my mother, and I will honor your music, Reverend.
Personal Bias: The Rev has been my wingman on more than one occasion.
The Crowd: churchgoers and lovers
Overheard in the Crowd: "We love you too, Al!"
Random Notebook Dump: I was severely underdressed for this show. Whatever the opposite of "Sunday Best" is, that was me. Le sigh.
SET LIST: Take Me To the River Sha La La Simply Beautiful L-O-V-E Pretty Woman Amazing Grace Let's Stay Together How Can You Mend a Broken Heart Here I Am (Come and Take Me) Can't Help Myself/My Girl (Four Tops/Temptations cover) Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke cover) You Are Everything I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) (Otis Redding cover) Wonderful World (Don't Know Much About History) (Sam Cooke cover) Tired of Being Alone I'm Still In Love With You Love & Happiness
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