Joe Cocker, concert review. Opening was Huey Lewis and the News. Finally - after a scorchingly hot summer, it was a wonderfully cool evening. We had "layers" on, me - shorts of course. Huey is just a hit machine. He the his ageless band did not short us. His set was 75 minutes with a 2-song encore. Huey and his keyboard player, Sean Hopper, met in 7th grade, he told us. They did a great version of one my favorites - Jacob's Ladder, written by Bruce Hornsby. He is and was the epitome of pop, but his stuff holds up. Minor complaint: no Walking on a Thin Line. He told us his bass player, John Pierce, is a highly sought after Hollywood session guy, who used to be in Pablo Cruise. Try this one:
Joe Cocker's voice, mannerisms, timing, and backing band were all better than I could have envisioned. At this point in his career, his command of the stage, in economical movement, - after performing for 45 years or so - was never in question. I knew he'd "play" air guitar (he invented it), but air piano too. There was no stray grease in his backing lineup was ideal. Like his bass player, Oneida James-Rebeccu, wielding a funky-looking 5-string, and his lead guitarist Walter Bloch, the ensemble was small and tight - compared to the 45-person zoo that was once dubbed Mad Dogs and Englishmen so many years ago. And channeling Chris Stainton on keyboards was Nicholas Milosevich. In the role of Leon Russell was Jeffrey Levine, a fine hold-over from his lp called One Night of Sin. They did the songs that launched Joe 45 years ago. The Letter, Feelin' Alright, Get by with a Little Help from my Friends, and Come Together. Plus his movie soundtrack duet hit, and the modern sounding When the Night Comes.