Thursday, April 26, 2018

Eric Bibb at the Tivoli Theatre

I don’t get to many gigs these days so it was a real treat to see Eric Bibb in action last night at the Tivoli Theatre. Unlike the arse-numbing Vicar Street seating, the Tivoli is a really comfortable venue. You sink down into your plush seats and let the music flow over you. There’s no allocated seating so we arrived shortly after the doors opened and got excellent perches a few rows from the front. Bibb had a first-rate band with him. He was accompanied on 12-string guitar, slide guitar and occasionally mandolin and harmonica by Canadian country-blues notable Michael Jerome Brown. On drums he had the grizzled Paul Robinson who played for 20 years with Nina Simone – a demanding role I’d imagine. There was also an excellent guy on bass guitar and stand-up bass but his name escapes me.  A great lineup who proceeded to put on a great show for an enthusiastic audience. Bibb is an interesting character. His background is hardly typical for a blues man. He attended Columbia University, had the great Paul Robeson for a godfather and left for Europe when he was quite young. He currently lives in Sweden. He’s a charming and personable man who quickly established an easy rapport with the audience. He opened with the classic Going Down Slow and proceeded to take us on a tour of his back catalogue. There was a lot of gospel-flavored songs such as Now Is the Needed Time, and Don’t Let them Drag Your Spirit Down with the audience singing and clapping along. He also included a nice tribute (Call My Name) to drummer Samantha Banks who died recently.  A great night was had by all. Afterwards of course there was the mandatory trip down Francis Street to Fallon’s – a fine authentic old pub – where we enjoyed a perfect pint (or two).