Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Its Friday Night at The Apollo

Posted by xneverwherex on November 19, 2007


Friday night at The Apollo! Actually I think it’s really Saturday night at The Apollo – but you get the gist. And yes – really – its that Apollo Theater up in Harlem. Home of Slick Willy (err Bill Clinton).

So for those not familiar with Harlem – its definitely not what I had ever envisioned it to be – but the Theater is exactly how it should be. This strip of Harlem 125th Street is now just store upon store mixed in with every fast food joint you can think of. But it has a nice vibe to it, and I always like being up there.

The Apollo is filled with ushers throughout the theater – taking you to your seat. Asking you to kindly fill out surveys and everyone is uber-helpful. I could get spoiled by this. I was even more spoiled with my seat in the second row. When you look up above behind you from that close to the stage – the feeling is amazing at how big it is. When you think of all the blues/jazz artists (and everyone else in between) that has played there – you can almost feel the intensity. But I digress…

The show started out with Simple Kid (an Irish bloke) who plays a kind folksy-artsy 6-7 songs. The first few songs were ok – but somewhere it just caught and each subsequent song was fabulous. The highlight by far was hearing him say ‘this song is about being Irish’ and starting to play ‘Its Not Easy Being Green’ – featuring yes – Kermit the Frog! Oh that was awesome (I should say this was my first record I ever owned – the Muppets – with Rainbow Connection). His other songs included a song about Elton John – that has a great story to go along with it and the ever catchy Seratonin – which even featured the words on the screen behind him. For a one-man show he did his job and I am ready to go purchase his CD.

Finally – Spiritualized took the stage. I had heard so many stories about them playing live and how amazing it was – that I could only hope it would be that good. Jason was looking pretty thin wearing dark sun glasses the entire night. I was in the unfortunate section with a guy yelling ‘take off your glasses Jason, I want to see your eyes’. I really wanted to say “shut your mouth dude, I want to hear Jason sing’. Maybe I should have, but to interrupt the music would have been sacreligious.

Jason was joined on the stage by the organ player (who with his long able fingers – was a joy to watch), accompanied by a 5 woman orchestra – all in long dark skirts, and a choir comprised with about 5-6 women. The Apollo has the feeling of being in a gospel church and these songs were perfect for it. His voice carried through the theater with the women’s back up vocals creating the perfect fit for him. Jason was pretty quiet throughout the set – just going through each song. At the end he stood up and waved and that was about all you got from him.

It works tho. His music didnt need anything else done to it. Some bands need the theatricals to make the show what it is – but when you have a voice that sounds like Jason’s, songs that are beautiful – about redemption, etc., and you are playing with an orchestra/choir, you dont need more than that. It was delivered to us as it should have been – and hands down – this was the show of the year!

The set list is as follows:

The setlist:

  • Sitting On Fire
  • Lord Let It Rain On Me
  • True Love Will Find You
  • Cool Waves
  • Amen
  • Going Down Slow
  • Feel So Sad
  • Soul On Fire
  • Walking With Jesus
  • Stop Your Crying
  • All Of My Tears
  • Baby, I’m Just A Fool
  • Anything More
  • Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
  • Broken Heart
  • I Think I’m In Love
  • Encore: Lord Can You Hear Me
  • Oh Happy Day

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