Roy Ayers Vibes and Voice
Pete Rock Beats and Rhymes
John Pressley Voice and Percussion
Ray Gaskins Sax
The Band On The Wall website said “…promises to be one of the concerts of the Summer…” and the facts can’t be disputed; the performance did take place during July… a summer month. (I went to the Sunday night performance on the 17th but another was scheduled for the following evening; both were sold out.)
But the website over-hyped the event, which was not so much a concert as a personal appearance – an accomplished karaoke session, featuring an esteemed jazz musician improvising over his own records.
There was no rapping. DJ Pete Rock played a handful of tracks for Roy Ayers, Ray Gaskins (Sax) and John Pressley (Tambourine) to play live over and then he ambushed us, mid-set, with a ‘Stars On 45′-style medley featuring The Bee-Gees, Sister Sledge, Luther Vandross and others, mixed using his lap-top and virtual decks.
Strangely, most of the crowd seemed unperturbed by this, although one of my friends described the performance as more suited to a Saga Cruise than Band On The Wall.
The BOTW website blurb listed 5 songs to give a flavour of the concert (Everybody Loves The Sunshine, Red, Black & Green, Funk In The Hole, We Live In Brooklyn, Searchin’) and on the night, the musicians performed about that many songs in total, though not quite the same selection. The third was:
Roy Ayers – Everybody Loves The Sunshine (1976)
This was followed by Pete Rock’s medley. Then we had an extended karaoke performance of ‘Running Away':
Roy Ayers – Running Away (1978)
There was no encore. The performers left the stage, as if to take a break, leaving Pete Rock playing a few good tunes by various artists. Then someone signalled for Pete to finish and he packed up and left the stage. People drifted out.
Roy Ayers is 70… Ray and John didn’t look much younger: older men travelling light, using new technology to tour on the cheap. It seems churlish to criticise them as they were raising money for Band On The Wall in the process.
What did we expect for £15?
Now we could all tick that box: ‘Seen Roy Ayers’ – job done.
The resident DJ played some great tunes after the concert, so quite a few of us stayed on and danced until after midnight, which provided some consolation.
(Apologies to the guy who left a comment about the London concert on the Wednesday being just the same… my website hosting service had a technical problem and lost about 3 days worth of updates, including your comment.)