RAMSHEAD TAVERN – February 3, 2004
by Dawn! E. Robinson
If melted fudge poured over velvet cloth had a voice, it would sound like LALAH HATHAWAY. She has a tone other singers wish they had. On the night of Feb. 3 at RamsHead Tavern in Annapolis MD, LALAH poured her warm vocals all over an audience that came in from the freezing cold. She was dressed in black jeans, black blouse and blazer and performed with two backup singers, keyboardist, guitarist, bassist and drummer.
She shocked everyone by opening the show with the OutKast hit “Hey Ya!” – complete with the part about shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture, but she let the backup girls do the shaking. It was a great ice-breaker - no pun intended – since the show had been postponed because of snow on Jan. 28 and there was an ice storm headed for the area that night.
The sound in the house was strange – the band was really too loud all evening. Even when the sound guy turned LALAH’s vocals up (at the audience's request) the band got louder. I got the impression that the sound onstage was good though, because none of the singers appeared to be over-singing.
LALAH introduced a new song from her long-awaited third CD joking, “The CD I told you a long time ago was coming out is still coming out, I promise, I’m not delusional.” She followed that with “Smile” from her first CD, Lalah Hathaway. Then she took her shoes off saying, “Okay, did you see the shoes? The shoes are cute. Everybody saw the shoes, right? ‘Cause the shoes are coming off now.”
Her next song had a recurring theme – “One day, I’m gonna…” – and this was followed by “I’m Coming Back” from the Lalah Hathaway CD. Then her backup singers left the stage and she did “Summertime” which had a bass solo intro that, unfortunately, went on a bit long.
Her backup singers returned for “Baby Don’t Cry” also from her first CD followed by another new song from what she referred to as “the delusional CD” and a song the title of which I think was “These Are The Things.”
At this point one of her backup singers looked at her like she was asking permission to take her shoes off and LALAH joked, “Look, shoes are for walking to the place. You show ‘em off, look cute in them. Then, they have to come off.”
They did “We Were Two” next which has really sweet 3-part harmony runs that flow like melted butter and “Something” in which she added a little audience participation.
Her backup singers left the stage again for “One Day I’ll Fly Away” & “When Your Life Was Low” from the The Song Lives On CD she recorded with Joe Sample. She ended “When Your Life Was Low” with a phenomenal a cappella ad lib.
The backup singers returned for the final tune, appropriately titled (I think) “In the End” and it was a warm and toasty end to a freezing cold evening.
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