Saturday, September 17, 2011

fDeluxe @ Loring Theater, 9.16.2011

Before the show
Quite the evening was had here in Minneapolis last night. fDeluxe, comprised of four original members of Prince protégé band The Family, performed their official debut gig at the Loring Theater. My brother and I had been tossing around whether or not to go, but when I checked the venue's website earlier in the week and saw 2 aisle seats available in the center front row of the balcony I nabbed 'em up real quick-like.

Before the show we hung out for a while in the lobby, checking out the merchandise table while listening to a live DJ mixing up some tunes. We spotted a couple of local celebs, notably MN Vikings hall-of-famer Carl Eller and Revolution drummer Bobby Z., who looked terrific.

When we headed up to our seats at around 7:50 it was clear that  the rest of the audience was taking their own sweet damn time, which made me wonder if the show was a sell out. By 8:30, however, the place was packed and rarin' to go. From my balcony seat I recognized a longtime blog friend Kyle in the VIP section on the floor. After the show we saw each other in the lobby and chatted for a little, but there was so much energy around the band's whereabouts that it was easy to get distracted (It was great to finally meet you in person, Kyle!).

The stage
The stage was set-up to resemble a living room, complete with a couch, vintage vacuum cleaner, infant high-chair, a bass, six get the idea (see pic, left). The band came out and gave a nicely paced, loose, and often hot & funky performance in front of a friendly hometown audience. St. Paul, Susannah, Eric, and Jellybean looked great and put in 100%+. One of the biggest surprises for me was seeing Jellybean upfront playing guitar for most of the show. The man ain't no slouch!  During the final encore he ripped into a wicked guitar solo that could have given both Jesse Johnson and Prince a run for their money. 

And might I just say a word about Mr. Eric Leeds. In fact, one word is enough: LEGEND.  Leeds played keys, flute, and sax throughout last night's show, but it was his signature sax playing that put the fDeluxe stamp on the whole shindig. When Leeds plays you KNOW who's saxophone it is, and he was simply on top of his game last night. I gots myself the chills a couple of times. 

St. Paul Peterson appeared genuinely proud and happy to be performing with his bandmates, chatting it up with the audience, coming off as your every day Minnesotan, not some big-headed rockstar. He seemed clearly his element. 

Then there was Miss Susannah. Oh my goodness. First of all, the lady's got some pipes.  She put her heart into last night's gig and seemed to be having a blast the whole time. During a post-show meet & greet I mentioned to her how much she commanded the stage, and she acknowledged that she does tend to go crazy when she's up there doing her thing. She looked fantastic in a black long-sleeved fitted dress and very high heels. Personally, I couldn't keep my eyes off of her.  
fDeluxe setlist, 9.16.2011:
  • Screams of Passion
  • Gaslight
  • Sanctified
  • Over the Canyon
  • Nothing Compares 2 U
  • Leeds Line
  • Desire
  • Beautiful You
  • Lover
  • River Run Dry (first verse & chorus only, with props to Bobby Z. who stood up from the audience)
  • @8
  • -snippet of Earth Wind & Fire's "That's The Way of The World"-
  • High Fashion
  • Mutiny (!)
  • Encore:
    • When You Go (lovely Paul/Susannah piano duet + Eric on sax)
    • Drummers and Healers
Promo card distributed 'round town
After the show my bro and I were waiting for the band to arrive at the autograph table in the lobby (which was developing a certain funk of its own, on account of all the bodies lingering around), when Kyle alerted me that the band was hanging out down by the stage (Thanks again Kyle!!). I got to Eric first, who was interested in the 12" EP I handed him, saying it was the first time he'd seen it (St. Paul told me that the EPs were German imports that had arrived just prior to the show). It was surreal to stand next to Eric Leeds watching him take the vinyl out of its sleeve - he actually held it horizontally at eye level like he was inspecting it to make sure it met his personal standards. He didn't have a Sharpie on him (it was at the autograph table out in the lobby!), but he pulled out a standard pen to autograph the sleeve for me. He was very friendly and easy-going, just as I would have expected. 

Next was Mr. Johnson. Very cordial, with Sharpie in hand.  As he was signing my record I asked if the upcoming Original 7ven (aka The TIME) album was going to be available on vinyl, and he seemed quite certain that it would be. Side note: The man has a million dollar smile, and appears very comfortable with who and where he is at this point in his life. A very positive individual. 

St. Paul was just as friendly, happy to hear that we enjoyed the show. I asked him when the upcoming L.A. show(s) were happening (I think he said "22-23").  For those of you in and around Los Angeles I highly recommend that you GO to see this band. Wendy and Lisa are going to be performing with them, just in case you needed a little extra incentive. 

Autographed 12" vinyl EP
The last to sign my EP was Susannah, who was so gracious, laid back, and beautiful in her post-show jeans and flip-flops.  She asked me if the show was what I had expected, and I told her it was exactly what I expected and more - especially the last 8 minutes of the show when the band went into a free-form jam that was funky as hell. When my brother got to Susannah she said "So nobody's asked you your name before signing this?", as if to say "how rude of them!". So she wrote Jay's name in the top left corner before autographing it herself (see pic of Jay's signed EP, above left). 

Thanks to Eric, Jellybean, Susannah & Paul for an incredible night. If we weren't already devoted lifelong fans we certainly would be now.  I'm looking forward to seeing where this new chapter of the band's history takes you next!


ChuckO said...

Soooooo very cool! You MPLSers are sooo funken lucky to have this going on!

And first I've heard new Time info too- awesome!

Jeff said...

I love getting info about vinyl straight from the artist! It was like when I asked Clem about the Panic of Girls LP. I asked Eric Leeds if there was going to be a vinyl of the full Gaslight album, and he said he didn't think so, which makes me think this EP might be the only vinyl? I hope that's not the case.