Leon Russell….opening act?

Leon Russell
Live at the Keswick Theater
Glenside, PA
Setlist….not necessarily in this order:
–Medley: Jumpin Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)>Papa was a Rollin Stone>Paint it Black intro (Rolling Stones)>Kansas City
–Sweet Little Angel (1930’s blues standard > made famous by BB King)
–Dixie Lullaby
–Wild Horses (Rolling Stones)
–I’ve Just Seen a Face (Beatles)
–Tight Rope
–Out in the Woods
–Walkin Blues (Robert Johnson)
–Georgia on My Mind (Hoagy Carmichael >made famous by Ray Charles)
–Stranger in a Strange Land
–Delta Lady
–A Song For You

This show had such a strange billing. They had Leon Russell, one of rock and roll’s most gifted songwriter and performers, OPENING for Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Nothing against Southside Johnny and his band but Leon should have definitely been the headliner at this show. My guess is that they added Leon to the bill to fill the seats. And fill the seats he did. Now, its not that Southside Johnny was awful; although at times…..they really weren’t very good. Every facet of the band was a wannabe replica of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and in every area they were sub par. The Asbury Jukes were not nearly as bad as Southside Johnny himself, who looked and sounded like a pompous, awkward looking uncle trying to belt out rock music. The crazy part is that they have been around since the mid 70’s. They have a box set. They have a loyal following.

Maybe they were cool back in the day but not so much anymore. Honestly, the main reason that the Southside Johnny show was such a hard pill to swallow was the fact that he followed Leon Russell. And Leon is still cool.
Lets not let Southside put a damper on the overall event. Leon put on a great show, rocking through some of the greatest rock, blues, and R&B standards of our time. He was all business, no nonsense, which I think was a big reason the show was so fulfilling. I don’t think he spoke once in between songs, and to some that was a flaw.

I don’t think so. I like banter just as much as the next one but when you’re placed in an opening slot with an hour to perform, its best to give the crowd what they’re looking for. And it helps to keep his mysterious, rock-star persona alive and well.

So, hats off to Leon Russell. The coolest 68 year old I have seen in a long time.

Here’s a great song off of his self titled album, Delta Lady. I don’t really know what is going on in this video….I think its an old PBS special or something. great tune nonetheless…

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