JamTV: Nov 28, 1997, Chicago concert

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Over the years, he's been a part of the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic and has played with everyone from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to Chaka Khan and James Brown. But on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at Chicago's Park West, it was all about Steve Winwood.

Hitting the stage just before 9 p.m., Winwood, wearing a black T-shirt beneath a loose red Oxford and black jeans, casually slid behind his piano. Without an introduction, Winwood and his band -- comprising 10 session musicians playing everything from congas and bongos to brass, bass and a guitar -- busted into "I'm A Man," a song dating back to 1967. The rest of the evening continued in the same vein, offering an electrifying look at Winwood's nearly 35-year music career.

Throughout the evening, Winwood tantalized the 1,000 or so people who filled every possible corner and stairwell of the intimate venue in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood with songs like "Roll With It," "While You See A Chance" and "Freedom Overspill." It wasn't until the middle of the show, after Winwood played a chunk of new songs off his latest album, Junction Seven, that the venue really exploded.

The band opened the psychedelic portion of the show with the Blind Faith hit, "Can't Find My Way Home." The crowd erupted as Winwood's angelic, falsetto voice eased into the familiar tune. This segued perfectly into a nearly 15 minute jazzy, yet trippy, version of the Traffic classic "Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys."

After nearly two hours of dancing, singing, clapping and smiling in response to the mainly Baby Boomer audience's cheers, Winwood closed the set with "Higher Love," a song he sang with Chaka Khan back in the mid-'80s.

Before Winwood re-emerged for the encore, people wondered aloud what he would play next. "I bet he does 'Arc of a Diver,'" one patron exclaimed, while another hoped it might be "Dear Mr. Fantasy." Neither of their prayers were answered, but needless to say, they weren't disappointed either as Winwood and his backing band of extremely talented musicians came back for a glowing version of the song that re-introduced Winwood (now on Mandolin) in the '80s -- "Back In The High Life Again."

After a heart-pounding drum jam, Winwood brought the show back to the beginning of his career. Sitting down at the piano, he lit up the Park West with a super hot, foot-stomping rendition of the song he rocked out to when he was just a teenager fronting the Spencer Davis Group, "Gimme Some Lovin'."

Set list from Steve Winwood's Oct. 28 show:

  • I'm A Man
  • Roll With It
  • Freedom Overspill
  • While You See A Chance
  • Angel Of Mercy
  • Spy In The Houes Of Love
  • Got To Get Back To My Baby
  • Plenty Lovin'
  • Let You're Love Come Down
  • Can't Find My Way Home
  • Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys
  • Glad (w/ Latin jam)
  • The Finer Things
  • Family Affair
  • Just Wanna Have Some Fun
  • Higher Love

Encore:

  • Back In The High Life Again
  • drum jam
  • Gimme Some Lovin'

-- Ari Bendersky

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Page created April 15, 1998.
Last updated April 15, 1998.
© 1997 by the author; reproduce only for non-commercial purposes and with full attribution.