Billy Cobham was in St. Pete Friday. I love Cobham. I saw him in the 70s three times with the original Mahavishnu Orchestra and twice with the Cobham-Duke Band (with those two young whippersnappers, John Scofield and Alphonso Johnson). He was doing Spectrum 40 – the 40th anniversary of that astounding record.
I didn’t go to see him.
Life is about making choices. I chose to go see Kung Fu and CopE at the Crowbar in Ybor City.
I’m on a HOT streak!
If you’ve read any of my rantings before, you know I am prone to superlatives approaching hyperbole, so let me just repeat my favorite mantras.
This show – both bands – was as good as it gets. I cannot say I have ever seen or heard a better show.
This was my 20th CopE show. They were superb in June and again in July, but – for me – this show touched deeper than the first 19. Everything clicked; everyone was on top of his game. And I really “heard” Juanjamon on tenor sax – what a powerhouse! Dennis and Kenny were absolutely on fire. Those of you who have never heard CopE who will be attending Bear Creek be forewarned: DO NOT MISS THEM!
I had seen Kung Fu several times at SoSMP shows, but this performance immediately jammed into fourth gear and never let up. They stomped through original tunes and great covers (including Jeff Beck’s “You Know What I Mean,” Funkadelic’s “Good to Your Earhole,” and “Teen Town” by Weather Report), sending the packed house into a frenzy. I was trying to focus on Rob Somerville on tenor sax and Todd Stoops on keys, but Chris deAngelis was killing it on bass, and then there was Tim Palmieri. His guitar solos were consistently brilliant.
I made the right choice. The high-level funk fusion from both bands lifted me to that magical music place. For me, it was as good as it gets.