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« Preview: Ray LaMontagne @ The Chicago Theatre Review: Gotye, Missy Higgins @ Charter One Pavilion, 8/24 »

Review Sat Aug 25 2012

Review: Sam Moore @ City Winery, 8/24

Sam Moore came to fame in the legendary Atlantic/Stax duo Sam & Dave with Dave Prater in the early 1960s. They had a slew of R&B and soul hits. His solo career has had its peaks and valleys. It hasn't quite reached the highs that Sam & Dave did, but he's picked up numerous accolades and kept his voice in very good shape. At Friday's show at City Winery, the 76-year old showcased that pure tenor by flying through his hits and a handful of covers. Getting the ball rolling was a long "Hold On, I'm Comin'" that began with his backup singers singing "Hold on, Sam's coming." Following that was the duet version of Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" and Allen Touissant's "Get Out of My Life, Woman" that Moore playfully directed to a lady in the front.

Before Friday, the only time I'd seen footage of Sam Moore had been via the Stax/Volt European tour videos (here). I'm realistic enough to know that he's not the same as he was 45 years ago, but through the first half-hour he barely moved when not singing. That changed later on as he interacted with the crowd more. There were calls and responses. There were conversations with people in the front. The man is charming. Ray Charles' "I've Got News For You" and Ann Peebles' "I Can't Stand the Rain", especially the latter, got some excitement rolling through the crowd. Then a cover of Billy Preston's "You Are So Beautiful" brought things down a notch and also displayed the drawback of City Winery as a music venue. There are some people who go specifically to hear music. But like any music venue that serves meals, there're others who want to eat, converse and have music in the background. These crowds obviously do not get along. So a quieter song opens the door for shushers. And that's not fun for anyone. (Although, everything else about City Winery is really nice. Sightlines are clear; even the pillar in the music room doesn't block anyone's view. The sound is terrific.)

Once the tempo jumped up, the mood in the room improved. A rousing "I Thank You" led into "Soul Man" to get a majority of the crowd to stand from their comfortable seats. To close out the night, Moore's wife, Joyce, walked on stage to ask demand that he play "Sweet Home Chicago." At first, he seemed surprised at the request, but fulfilled it. Midway through, he joked with someone up front about singing with him. When a woman with real pipes busted through to join him on stage, Moore was stunned by her bluesy voice. (I suspected she was a ringer. So did the people next to me.) She improvised a little before giving the show back to the star who wrapped it up neatly. Coming in under an hour, the set was a little short, but people got what they wanted.

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Catherine / August 25, 2012 12:46 PM

I don't know who would expect anything but boorish behavior in a place where people eat during musical performances. Worst idea ever.

Michelle / August 27, 2012 3:04 PM

The show on the 25th was amazing, he was on stage for a little over 2 hours. Moore had said something about the audio being off the night before, but if Fridays show was half as good as Saturdays show then all were treated to an amazing man in amazing voice!

Alan / August 28, 2012 2:36 PM

That woman with real pipes was no ringer. She's my friend Ellen Miller, former XRT media sales exec and local real estate broker with @properties who also happens to be an amazingly talented blues/rock harp player and singer. She came to hear Sam and had never met, seen or spoken to Sam or anyone connected with him before the show - his surprise was honest and sincere!

Dave / August 30, 2012 3:30 AM

I was also at the show on the 25th, Sam Moore and his show were amazing. To still have the pipes he has is unbelievable and his supporting cast was outstanding. The venue is very new and improving, the sound was very good. Sam Moore still has it. Congratulations and thank you Sam Moore & Company for a night to remember.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
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Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
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Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
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Theft Liable to Prosecution
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