Release Date: 02.27.99
Record label: Mighty Blue Kings
Genre(s): Country Western
Mighty Blue Kings Engange in "Musical Foreplay"
by: bill aicher
Saturday night the Mighty Blue Kings graced the stage at Madison, WI's Barrymore Theater. The Kings were last in town for the 1998 Madison Blues Festival.
Donned in three-piece-suits, the Mighty Blue Kings entered the stage at approximately 9:15. Their set opened with an upbeat instrumental piece which immediately got the crowd moving. Lead singer, Ross Bon, with his slicked back hair and lover boy look, played it cool in the background, clapping along the beat laid down by fellow bandmates Gareth Best (guitar), Clark Sommers (bass), Jerry DeVivo (drums), and John Sandfordt (saxophone).
After the opening song, Bon graciously welcomed the audience. "It's a special night tonight. We're all here together, that makes it special," declared Bon.
Amidst requests for "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz," a fan favorite, Bon decided it was time to play with the audience. He said the song would have to wait a bit now, referring to his playfulness as "musical foreplay." "I know what you want, and I'm just sort of kissing around it."
Bon's stage presence was one of the most notable parts of the show. His charisma helped the audience relate to him, talking as if everyone at the show was one of his oldest friends. The ladies at the show were in awe due to his looks alone. Cries of lust were commonplace, and Bon just played off of them in his usual modest manner.
The biggest hit of the evening was "The Green Grass Grows All Around," a remake of an old children's song. Bon urged the crowd to sing along and to do the hand motions as well. An example of Bon's penchant for crowd involvement, he paused singing after the second verse, instructing fans to egg on nonparticipants, citing "there's one [nonparticipant] in every crowd."
The Mighty Blue Kings did an excellent job of pleasing the crowd. Beautiful saxophone and stunning guitar solos were featured throughout the evening. Bon's harmonica playing displayed a genuine emotionality to the music. DeVivo played a boss drum feature before the band returned to the stage for its encore - a slowed-down performance of Jerry Lewis's "Rag Mop." Other notable performances from the night include "Money Keeps Getting Cheaper" and "Don't Let Go." The crowd showed an affinity toward the songs where they got to sing along. Throughout the night, the Kings put on an outstanding show.
Whether it was the swing-influenced jump-blues, the harmonica laden (harmonica by Bon) blues, or Bon's radiant persona, the audience was at the Kings' mercy - they just couldn't resist. The Kings' enthusiasm is unparalleled and their musicianship untouched