Boz Scaggs. We try to see the incredibly gifted Boz as often as we can, which isn’t to say every time we can.
We last saw him at the most terrific mid-sized venue in the area, the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Collingswood. We went with friends who also love Boz. It snowed that night — we had a blizzard.
Boz payed his heart out, started early and ended early, because he knew his band and crew had to make it across the Delaware River to their hotel in Philadelphia and, well, there was a blizzard.
Last night, the amazingly low-key Boz Scaggs had no opening act at the Scottish Rite. Several minutes after radio legend Michael Tearson gave his introduction, Boz and his band just ambled on stage. Boz strapped on a guitar and talked, about how things were the last time he was at the Scottish Rite.
As it turned out, once he got the band and crew safely ensconced in the hotel, all flights were canceled, so they had to hang out in Philly a couple days more.
So he started playing and there were still scores of people coming into the theater, clattering to their seats, arguing about someone sitting in their assigned seats — one couple moved sideways twice before slapping their heads and realizing they were in the wrong row!
This, of course, is quite distracting when a performer is on stage.
Tearson had announced that, at Boz’s request, there be no flash photography or recordings of the show. He should have also asked that people not already seated when the show began, about 10 minutes after the advertised start of the show — the time that is printed on every ticket sold for the show! — would not get in.
Most of the shows I go to are gray-hair shows. My Closest Companions always jokingly asks me why there are so many gray-haired people in the audience. It’s that way for Leon Russell, Dave Mason, B.B. King, whoever.
A quick survey of the audience last night made it clear there was no one there, that I could see, under 40 — and I’m being very kind.
You’d think, then, that the audience would not be rowdy, or that there’d be a need for security. The lovely people who show you to your seats are my age or older, not the kind of person you’d call if there was trouble in the audience.
Yet there was yelling and shouting from the audience. At one point, Boz, who was quite talkative last night and seemed to enjoy sharing anecdotal introductions for his songs, was in mid-intro when some guy started a shouting conversation that no one, including Boz, could understand.
Boz stopped speaking without finishing his introduction, shrugged and went right into the song.
But the shouting guy had nothing on the couple directly behind us. They came in late and talked through the entire concert, all 14 or 15 songs. They spoke in normal tones, not the susurration of stage whispers, blah blah blah, non-stop.
My Closest Companion acts and sounds more like a diplomat that I do, so she eventually turned around and asked them to please keep it down.
They ignored her and continued. We could see the couple beside us were also beside themselves, they were so upset.
My Closest Companion some time later, turned and just asked them, in a stern voice, to shut up.
The male in the couple told her to just close her mouth and stop talking.
I turned and pointed at the man. Although I didn’t use foul language or threaten him directly, I don’t want to repeat what I said. He continued to make yakking motions with his hand, mocking both of us, not the least bit intimidated by our admonitions.
Now, this would have been a fine time to catch the eye of a concert worker and motion him or her over to me. Except that all the concert workers were sitting in seats up front, reaping the harvest of their volunteer services by grooving to the tunes.
I paid $160 for those tickets. It didn’t bother me that we were one row behind a large computerized sound board with a distractingly bright screen. I could still see Boz and hear him just fine — there’s not a bad seat in the Scottish Rite — when I wasn’t having to listen to the Mr. and Mrs. Rude behind us.
The show, of course, was magnificent. In 14 or so songs, Boz couldn't do ALL his hits, but he managed to do many. As well as a couple tunes from his most recent album, Memphis, he also did Lowdown, Lido and Loan Me A Dime.
He and the band did two encores before calling it a night.
When it was over and the house lights came up, I turned and walked in the opposite direction of the Rude Couple because it would be MY luck that I’d wind up in jail while this low-IQ nimrod went his merry way.