Steve Winwood is back in the high life again
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Oct. 8, 2003
By Jeffrey B. Remz
BOSTON - Steve Winwood's brand new album - his first in about eight years - is entitled "About Time." Now for the cynics out there, they could have a field day with the title if it weren't. but fortunately, Winwood has aged quite well thank you four decades long into his career. And he proved to be no slouch in concert either, giving a generous 2:20 hour performance covering very old, relatively recent and very new during his warmly received show. Winwood opts for more of a soulful/slightly funk sound on his new music. It fits him quite well, especially apparent when placed in comparison with the rest of the music he played. In fact, two of the first three songs he played - "Different Light" and "Cigano (For the Gypsies)" - were from "About Time." That could be demanding of an audience, but the new music is not exactly hard to get into.
Winwood's voice, mixed a bit too low for a chunk of the show, remains in strong form. He may not try to hit all the high notes like he used to, but there's not a whole lot of difference in Winwood's vocal prowess over the years.
He's not a big talker, though he clearly did appreciate the audience's often enthuasiastic response.
What particularly stands out, though, is the playing of Winwood on Hammond organ and guitar and band mates Jose Neto on guitar, Walfredo Reyes Jr.. on drums, Randall Bramlett on a variety of instruments and Café da Silva on percussion.. The jazzy sound of older material, especially the close to the regular set, the great "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" was exquisite.
From old like "Gimme Some Lovin" back from his Spencer Davis Group days of 18967 to "Higher Love" and "Back in the High Life Again" to "Why can't We Live Together" from the new album (the Timmy Thomas song), Winwood deserved the warm hand he received.