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Saw the Brothers Johnson yesterday

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by malthumb, Jul 8, 2002.

  1. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Here's the headlines:

    * The sound crew needs to be rounded up and smacked
    * George and Louis are still baaayaad

    Here's the detail:

    The roadies and part of the band started sound checking at about 1:40 for what was supposed to be a 2:00 start. It seemed like everytime they got one mic or instrument where they wanted it, they'd check another that was already "set" only to find that it had little or no output. I sensed impending doom.

    At 2:30 the emcee took the stage, followed a few minutes later by George and Louis. Louis played a a Norton Merlin Bass through an SWR rig that included a Goliath, a Goliath Jr and a Megoliath. If you haven't seen one, a Merlin has the pickups and bridge on rails and has interchangeable wings. The band consisted of George on guitar, Louis on bass, two keyboard players, a drummer, a percussionist, a saxophone player and a female vocalist, Mimi.

    For the first couple of songs the sound just flat out sucked. You couldn't tell that George was playing at all. George went over to the side of the stage to confer with one of the keyboard players, who doubled as a roadie, so Louis soloed 'til he came back. Sounded like he was playing spoons. After a few songs George stopped to talk to the audience and to give the sound crew a chance to fix it. It improved to the point of being tolerable. Later on it improved to the point of being about average. For the most part poor little Mimi just couldn'e be heard except when she was featured on "Tomorrow". Even then, if she wandered too close to the saxophonist, the audience was treated to some serious low frequency feedback.

    Once the sound evened out, it was a funkfest for sure. THey played most of the classics, "Thunderthumbs and Lightening Licks",
    "Celebrations", "Land of Ladies", "Ain't We Funkin' Now", "I'll be Good To You"

    They also did some rousing renditions of Sly and the Family Stone classics "Sing A Simple Song", Everyday People", "Thank Ewe Faletinme Be Mice Elf", and The Gap Band "Word Up". They finished the reminiscing part of the set with "Billie Jean" and the funkiest version of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" that you'd ever want to hear. I knew that Louis was the bassist on most of Michael Jackson's biggest hits from "Off The Wall", "Thriller", and "Bad", but "Billie Jean" is synth bass. Apparently Louis composed the bassline and it was recorded with synth.

    They went back into their own substantial bag of hits with "Get The Funk Outta Ma Face" for about 10 minutes and "Strawberry Letter 23".

    When they "finished" the set, they went off stage and STRONGLY hinted that if the crowd asked for more they'd come back. We did and they started to when, get this.....the facilities person told them they couldn't come back on because they were already running over and another act was to start at 5 (Ramsey Lewis Trio - Ramsey, who mentored Earth Wind & Fire in their early days, is a local celebrity and deejay at the local jazz station) . The crowd booed loudly and the emcee basically told the woman that "we didn't bring them all the way here to NOT play "Stomp". They are coming back out!" And they did. And they lit it up.

    I enjoyed seeing George and Louis back together, especially after their serious rift. I thought they'd never get back together. After the show they sold merchandise and signed autographs. I got both of them to sign my Alembic 5 string :D :D Louis played it a little and loved it. Too bad I wasn't quicker with my cheapo camera or I'd have pics of that.

    If you're into the funk and you get a chance to see them, do so. But bring your own sound guy.



  2. lneal


    Apr 12, 2002
    Lee County, Alabama
    I love the Brothers Johnson, they are one of my early funk influences. Glad to hear they're back together, I will look for them in my area. BTW, I still can't figure out what the hell Louis is playing on "Strawberry Letter 23"!!
  3. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Great poist, thanks James. Love the Brothers J.
  4. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Hey James, I got a live version of "Strawberry Letter 23" with Larry Graham sitting in on bass! Do you wanna copy? It is SICK!!!:eek:
  5. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Ooooo!! Gimme gimme gimme gimme. Please?!

    You can send me a PM or email me at malthumb@aol.com.


  6. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Hey I thought I was the only one with that:eek:

    Its savage.

    By the way my version cuts out near the end when someone introduces Larry..GAAARGGH, so does he solo? or is that the end of the song?
  7. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    That's the end of the song. Larry is thunderous on that cut.

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