I went to the blues festival last night to catch Steve Winwood. While I would have liked to have seen Carlos Santana perform, to be honest, I figured that show on the main MNBA Stage was going to be packed, and it was...some 30,000 people showed up for that show. :) Fortunately, I had gotten Kathy and SteveB to head to the festival early as I had heard that the show was moved up to 7:15 as Winwood wanted to play a slightly longer set, and this was good in other ways.
Steve Winwood delivered a really good show last night, but it didn't start that way. Winwood was accompanied by a terrific, first-rate band, and made an unassuming entrance on stage, sitting down at the organ, and starting off with the hypnotic "Fly" off his latest album. There were a few more new tracks before he even spoke to the audience, where he noted that he was trying to keep the mood cool and mellow because it would get hotter later when Santana took to the main stage. The performance picked up as he started to do some of the older material from his repertoire, picking up the electric guitar for a silk smooth performance of "Can't Find My Way Home", and some of his other hits. The setlist wasn't all that long. because the band stretched a lot of the tunes out, including some spirited, extended work on "Higher Love" and "Dear Mr. Fantasy". On the latter, Winwood's string-bending fretwork was superb, and add to that the fact that his voice sounded almost like it did on the old studio albums, with no real hint of age, and the set was simply superb. It's a good thing that a lot of the more soft songs and tracks were done in the early going of the set, since once Santana took to the main stage, the sound bleed spoiled things for me a bit.
I also managed to catch some of the Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes show, and enjoyed what I did catch. Southside Johnny has a pretty long list of albums and music, and from what I heard there was all manner of stuff off various albums and all, so I had a pretty good time. Also managed to catch some of the Steve Dawson's Mississippi Sheiks Project as well, and this performance was equally good, if sounding somewhat different. The only real problem from the former was the sound bleed from the Santana show, but of course, that was to be expected.
Still, had a terrific evening of it with SteveB and Kathy, and am looking forward to Friday night.