Goapele, Musiq Soulchild, and Anthony Hamilton – Paramount Theater – Oakland, CA. June 6 and 7, 2009 – With friend Bobby Gonzales as guitar player in Goapele’s band – there was no way I was going to miss her opening for Musiq and Anthony Hamilton at the historic Paramount Theater in Oakland. How either Musiq or Hamilton was the headliner is another story. Goapele was a last minute replacement for Chrisette Michelle but Goapele remained as the opening act – limited to roughly 30 minutes of stage time each night. That’s too bad because her performances were fantastic and I wanted more.
Goapele, backed by Gonzales, Brian Collier (drums), Eric Daniels (Keys), Eric Smith (bass), and one female background singer, eased her way through various selections from her own catalog plus a cover of “Love Hangover” (Fifth Dimension/Diana Ross).
Never in a rush, and with zero phony in her bones, Goapele’s stage presence resonates with realness, and soul. Her voice sounds exactly as it does on record. The band reached a high point Sunday during the rocking, Romantic, with Bobby G.’s solo and enthusiasm making me want to get out of my hi-jacked front row seat. Other tunes played that I recall included First Love, Crushed Out, and Closer. Catch 22 was played on Saturday but not Sunday. And a new song, Milk+Honey, from her forthcoming album, was played each night. I LOVED the song live! (It sounded funkier than the demo I’ve heard).
Anthony Hamilton swapped roles as the headline act – with
Musiq’s five piece band was an all female lineup joined by two female dancers. His drummer, J Latoiya was clearly the funkiest band-member and honestly the only one in his band that made me a believer. As for Musiq himself – I enjoyed his energy, and he obviously has written some good songs but I just can’t get past his inability to stay on pitch vocally.
credit – the fans in
Hamilton ‘wrecked’ the stage each night! The southern soul star brought passion
with his bluesy voice that seemed to reach the majority of the appreciative
sold-out (Saturday) show-goers.