On July 18th, I threw caution to the wind and bought tickets to the R & B Allstars and friends at the Anza Club in Vancouver.  I had no idea what to expect.  I love R & B and smaller venues where you can really enjoy the performers. Glen is especially drawn to live performance. We knew given the size of the band and the size of the club it would be loud, so came prepared with light weight ear protectors. 

There was an opening act - a young indie band - who did a nice job. But let's face it, looking around at the older crowd, we were all here for the R &B Allstars and they did not disappoint. From the moment they were introduced, the audience lit up. Smiles were everywhere. Then the first song began and immediately feet were tapping, heads were nodding in rhythm and many of us were singing along to the oh-so-familiar tunes. The dance floor quickly filled with celebrants. While the number on the floor came and went all night, it was usually packed.

This large, eleven member group is filled with amazing talent. Five were vocalists and a whopping ten of the eleven played instruments. I counted three on saxophone including JP, JP, JP, JP (you had to be there). There was a trumpet player, a trombone player, three guitar players (including one of the lead vocalists), a drummer and a keyboard player. Off and on during the evening various instrumentalists were given a chance to shine and shine they did. The talent displayed was impressive.

Lead singer David Steele had charisma to match his vocals. He channeled a Blue Brothers' style all evening that was a hit with the crowd.  His partner in crime, lead singer Joanie Bye, offered us crazy high energy as she belted out her strong vocals, usually rocking her guitar at the same time. Guitarist Russell Marsland was the third frontman, adding his talent to both the instrumentals and the vocals. Loved his guitar work.

A few R&B band members stepped away from their instruments to sing for us. Trumpet player Al Lynch took the mike early on to perform one of the opening numbers. Kirsten Nash spent the larger part of the evening offering us great saxophone and backup vocals, but twice stepped up to the main mike to prove she had great vocal chops as well, including a great rendition of A Natural Woman, Kudos to both.

One thing I loved about this group and their performance this evening was it was all about the music. There was very little chatter with the audience. The set moved from one song to the next with usually no introduction. There was hardly a moment to breath between each song. I don't know how the performers handled this pace as it had to be demanding, but handle it they did with their energy just emanating in waves from stage. One song would finish and immediately we were hear the opening bars to another favourite. Hit after hit after hit kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

All night I kept thinking, I'll mention this song in my write-up - I'll mention that one. But with a steady stream of personal favourites being played, it was impossible to remember all of them. The one that I do still remember was performed shortly after their miniscule break - couldn't have been more than ten minutes. When the opening notes to I Want To Take You Higher by Sly and the Family Stone were played, I just about leapt out of my seat. I was in heaven. It took another song or two, but I finally couldn't sit still any longer and joined the packed dance floor.

This is definitely a band I will be following and on that note - I want to mention two upcoming performances -

Aug. 26th - Rocky Point Afternoon Concert 2:00 - Rocky Point Park, Point Moody

Aug. 29th - Asylum Stage, Hard Rock Casino Vancouver. For tickets click HERE

Aug. 22nd - East End Soulful Reunion with the R&B Allstars at the Croation Cultural Centre
      For tickets click HERE

Sept. 20th - R&B Allstars Return to the Two Lions at the Two Lions Public House in
      North Vancouver. For tickets click HERE

Sept. 29th - Hard Rock Casino opening for Bobby Brooks Wilson (no ticket link yet)

Dec. 31st - New Years Eve with R&B (no ticket link yet)

For more information on the R&B Allstars you can check out their website at www.rbalive.com

Check out the individual performers at http://rbalive.com/about/

And don't forget to follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rbalive