June 7, 2015

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings ~ June 7, 2015 @ The Santa Barbara Bowl

photo by patti gutshall (internet)

See Me Shouting!

With heavy horns blazing like the beginning of a TV game show, the Dap Kings emerged onto the Santa Barbara Bowl stage looking the dapper part in full suits and black ties. The 8-piece back up band to the extraordinary Ms. Sharon Jones welcomed the Bowl to the Wheels of Soul Tour as the newly anointed Dappettes entertained the crowd, building up the anticipation for Ms. Jones herself.

Like a rocket, 110 pounds of funk burst on to stage in a purple shimmer flapper’s dress ready to get down. The electrifying Ms. Jones got down with an energy that sucked you up into the funk, “Sounds so nice, horns – let me hear it again! Uh uh! Owwe!” She called upon the presence of Gladys Knight herself as she went into a cover of Heard It on the Grapevine that immediately brought the Bowl patrons up on their feet.

Then it got real. Ms Jones shared her personal battle with caner, which she was diagnosed with in 2012 after she had written Get Up and Get Out, a track the their six studio album. “This song has a different meaning now than before I was diagnosed… Now it’s a story of cancer: Get Up and Get Out!” Taking her shoes off, Ms. Jones set off into a gospel revival rendition of the song, moving every single person in the Bowl to stand up and celebrate with her. As a hawk soared overhead and the late afternoon ocean breeze floated into the Santa Barbara Bowl, she rejoiced, “See me shouting cuz I’m alive!”

And it continued, her energy boundless, she decided to take it back to 1965, when people had “the dance moves.” The dynamic little lady of funk decided to lay some knowledge on Santa Barbara, leading the now-packed, standing and attentive crowd through a whole decade of funky dance moves, starting with the “Boogie Loo,” going through the “Pony,” ultimately ending with “Taking it Home.”

Ms. Jones puts it out there for anyone, everyone to grab onto. So much energy to absorb, it leaves you exhausted in its wake. This 59 year-old cancer survivor and Goddess of Funk knows how to embrace life and celebrate “Cuz you’re alive!”