|Concert Series Opened July 4|
Published: Friday, 13 July 2012 05:26
John Lee Hooker, Jr.
What better way to relax on an early Independence Day evening than at a jam-packed outdoor blues concert at the island city shopping mall? This was the scene Wednesday, as John Lee Hooker, Jr. and his band launched the summer season of live music at the mall with a Fourth of July bang.
For two hours, in front of the largest crowd we have seen yet for a music event at Alameda's South Shore Center, Hooker and company galvanized the audience with a blend of straight blues, funk and R&B.
It can't be easy being the offspring of a music legend and trying to follow in his footsteps. Think Hank Jr., Julian Lennon or Lisa Marie Presley. Johnny pulls it off with aplomb, from his stylish look — a black suit with red trim and a black fedora set off with a small red feather — and infectious smile to his frequently humorous lyrics and his penchant for involving the audience in the performance.
Hooker is a true showman and blues artist in his own right. He paid tribute Wednesday to his father, performing a few of his songs, like "Boom Boom" and "Dimples," along with other blues standards, like "Stormy Monday."
Switching tempos to R&B and funk, the band had the audience dancing in the aisles and swaying in their seats.
Hooker also spoke of the bravery of our military responding to the call of service to keep Americans safe both in the past and the present.
In the closing set the audience went wild as Hooker beckoned a elderly woman to the front of the stage to dance with him. Bernadette Green, a beautiful 77 years old, set the pace for an impromptu dance finale between Hooker, his band and the fans that kept the audience laughing and clapping.
The band left everyone smiling and feeling that this was truly a special Fourth of July in Alameda.
Andy Sinaiko is an Alameda resident.