Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Amos Lee Brings Soulful Sound to Sold-Out Queen Show

By Guest Blogger, Jess Eisenbrey
Jess Eisenbrey is a former journalist turned public relations pro who regularly quotes Leslie Knope and has a slight obsession with Joe Biden. In her spare time, she can be found squeezing her way to the front row of general admission concerts at the Queen and sipping on the newest local craft beer or wine.

“Delaware! What’s the word, ya’ll?,” wailed Amos Lee as he opened his sold-out show at World Cafe Live at the Queen on May 16. Known for his folksy sound and soulful voice, Amos started the night with a favorite from his 2011 album Mission Bell called Windows Are Rolled Down, setting the tone for what would be a laid-back, intimate show. For more than two hours, he serenaded those in attendance with a mix of older songs and newer yet-to-be-released tracks.

A native of Philadelphia, Amos paid homage to his hometown and its proximity to Wilmington. The crowd cheered at Amos’ shout out to WXPN, the University of Pennsylvania public radio station headquartered at Philly’s World CafĂ© Live location, and went nearly silent during Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight as Amos quietly sang the line, “Sometimes we forget what we got, who we are, and who we are not.” 

Sprinkled in with some of his better known hits like Arms of a Woman and Sweet Pea, were newer songs the audience likely had never heard before (unless they happened to catch him in Atlantic City on May 14). The newer music, which Amos said is set to be released in August, is tinged with a bit more jazz and blues than his early albums featuring swoon-worthy love songs.

As the crowd started to thin out throughout the two-hour show, Amos made note of the fact that he was in fact playing “past everyone’s bedtime,” but he and his six-piece band continued. There were covers and mashups, including Juvenile’s Back That Azz Up mixed with his own Southern Girl, and lots of affection for the crowd as Amos chimed, “I’m in love with you all very much.” 

He made sure that the stars of the show were his bandmates, allowing each of them to have solo performances throughout the night. His saxophonist was incredible, and some of the best parts of the concert were the jam sessions between Amos and his band. It was evident that he had immense respect for the “ridiculous musicians” he said keep him in tune, at one point telling the crowd he was “very grateful for all of them” and jokingly renaming them all “Amos Lee and the Damn Good Band.” Amos also had a lot of love for his longtime friend and opening act Mutlu, a soul singer from Philadelphia who typically opens for Amos when he’s in Wilmington or other nearby cities. Monday just so happened to be Mutlu’s birthday, so Amos led the crowd in singing happy birthday to his friend. 

As the hour got later, it seemed Amos and the band were wrapping up their set with his hit Sweet Pea, but almost immediately after leaving the stage, he and the band came back out for an encore performance that included three additional songs. The grand finale of the concert was an audience singalong to Boyz II Men’s End of the Road, a fitting reminder that Amos Lee is a versatile performer who can pull off pretty much anything – even a classic R&B song from the 90s.

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