50 Years of Stax at the Hollywood Bowl – recap
The evening began with a spread of Stax artists each performining one or two songs each, from classic longtim Stax artist William Bell and , to new blood including Angie Stone. Booker T closed the first half of the show with his classics “Hip Hug Her” and “Green Onions” (a song he wrote while a high school senior)
The second half was taken up entirely by Isaac Hayes, whose own energy never matched that of the artists from earlier. Perhaps it was partially due to technical difficulties, as the sound levels seemed muddled after the intermission, or the aftereffects of a stroke he suffered in early 2006. Regardless, the energy of the crowd would swell each time his signature baritone voice came across the speakers.
But the true crowd pleaser of the evening was surprisingly from a pair of percussionists who ended Isaac Hayes performance of “Walk On By” with a duel between drums and bongos. Not a surprise, considering that Stax Records has always had the hottest backup musicians in the music industry.
I caught up with contest winner Scott Reynolds and his wife Amy (who also has a blog), who posed for the picture above after the show. Scott told me that as a kid growing up in Chicago, circa 1977 while all his other friends were fighting over who would play Han Solo or Luke Skywalker, he always wanted to be John Shaft.
Scott also tipped me off that this Sunday the Egyptian Theatre’s Mods and Rockers series will have an evening featuring Stax Records documentaries, including “Wattstax”, shot at the LA Coliseum in 1972 and directed by Mel Stuart (who also helmed Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).