Photos by G.
If you missed the fDeluxe/Sheila E. concert at BB King’s in New York on August 29, 2012, you missed out on a great funkin’ night! There are so many highlights, it’s hard to begin, but this ought to sum it up – when’s the last time you heard “Mutiny” and “Koo Koo” performed live on the same night?!
fDeluxe, formerly known as The Family, have only played New York a few times in their 20+ year career, but they really know how to make up for lost time. Aside from the two instrumental tracks (“Susannah’s Pajamas” and “Yes”), fDeluxe played every track from their debut album, “The Family.” What that means in lay man’s terms is New York got to hear funky live renditions of “High Fashion,” “Mutiny,” “The Screams of Passion,” “River Run Dry,” “Desire” and “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which was sung by The Family 5 years before Sinead O’Connor recorded it.
While the members of fDeluxe – St. Paul Peterson, Susannah Melvoin, Jellybean Johnson and Eric Leeds – might not be household names, to their fans, including myself, these are not mere mortals, but gods whose music has made our lives better and funkier for more than 2 decades! One of the highlights of the evening for me was sax man Eric Leeds walking out on stage for the first time during “High Fashion.” The audience absolutely lost their minds! He’s played sax or flute on so many of Prince’s best loved songs from the 80s, that when he emerged, you would have thought Prince himself was making an appearance (he did not, for those wondering).
fDeluxe didn’t just take us on a trip down memory lane, however. The band, funky as ever, played many songs from their 2011 album “Gaslight,” including the title track, “Drummers and Healers,” “@ 8,” and their new single “You Got What You Wanted,” an Ike and Tina Turner cover. “You Got What You Wanted” has just been released on fDeluxe’s official website and a limited edition CD single is available now.
To celebrate the release of the new single, fDeluxe hung around at the merch table after the show and greeted their adoring fans. It was really cute hearing super-fans gush at how their songs have been anthems to us and many people thanked them for the music.
The show could have ended there and it would have been an amazing night, but fDeluxe were only warming us up for even more funk! If you’ve never seen Sheila E. perform before, you are seriously missing out. In addition to somehow finding the fountain of youth (look at her! She looks even better than she did 20 years ago!), she is one of the best performers and musicians you will EVER see. She plays intricate percussion and drum solos that she makes look effortless and no matter how many times I see her, and it’s been a lot, I have more and more respect for her talent. In addition to her new song “Leader of the Band,” and many Latin Jazz songs, Sheila E. also played many songs from her time in the Prince world.
Of course she played “A Love Bizarre,” and the show closer “the Glamourous Life,” but in addition she also played “Holly Rock,” “The Belle of St. Mark,” “Koo Koo,” and “Erotic City.” She had a tight and funky band, which included Eddie M. on sax. Watching people lose their cool during “Koo Koo,” which I’ve never heard live in all the times I’ve seen Sheila E., was definitely a highlight. Hopefully the love that New York showed Sheila E. and fDeluxe will be contagious and will enable them both to come back more often. Until then, we have memories from BB King’s to last us a lifetime.