Keb’ Mo’s Hot Pink Blues Tour wooed Lake Tahoe on Saturday night.
The excellent show at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room featured a unique version of the blues delivered with a combination of distinctive slide guitar and rich vocals.
The versatile 64-year-old musician and songwriter was born Kevin Moore but did not experience major success until he changed to Keb’ Mo’ in 1994. Moore has released 11 albums and won three Grammy awards since that time. He has also won 11 Blues Foundation Awards and six BMI Awards, five for his theme song written and performed for the television show “Mike and Molly.” Keb’s latest release is a double live album, “That Hot Pink Blues Album,” featuring 16 tracks recorded in nine different cities during the 2015 tour.
Three multitalented musicians back Keb’ Mo.’ Drummer, singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer Casey Wasner is a self-taught musician from Minnesota who now lives in Nashville. Wasner has been an integral part of the recording and production for the last two Keb’ Mo’ releases. Bassist Stan Sargeant is from Los Angeles and has performed live and in the studio with an impressive list of musicians as well as playing in the Tonight Show band. Keyboardist, guitarist, singer, songwriter Michael B. Hicks is a staple on the Nashville funk and soul music circuit and has won five Nashville Independent Music Awards.
Keb’ opened the show with a solo version of “Every Morning.” He played acoustic slide guitar with his thumb pick while seated on a stool. He was dressed sharp in a jacket and tie and his trademark top hat. Keb’ played an impressive set of guitars throughout the show including the Gibson Keb’ Mo’ Signature Bluesmaster acoustic guitar. He broke out his shiny steel Nashville Resonator for the second song, “Am I Wrong.” Drummer Casey Wasner joined him onstage. Keb’ enjoyed playful moments with the audience and that continued throughout the show.
“There are lots of pretty women out there,” he said.
Stan Sargeant appeared with his standup bass for the third song, “Suitcase,” while Keb’ played the harp. Keyboardist Hicks brought the full band together for the fourth song, “Just Like You.” It was a nice mellow way to open the concert.
The band showed its versatility on “Don’t You Know,” which had a Cajun blues sound. Keb’ played banjo, Wasner sat on his drum riser strumming an acoustic guitar and Hicks played the accordion, the band appearing quite comfortable onstage. The musicians were smiling and you could tell that they genuinely enjoy performing together. If you closed your eyes, you could picture them playing on the front porch sitting on wood crates. All four of them sang in perfect harmony.
Keb’ strapped on his electric guitar for “Life Is Beautiful” while the audience clapped along. Sergeant put aside his standup bass for the more traditional bass during a rousing version of “Rita.” Keb’ proclaimed “we are going to break it down and take it to the neighborhood,” before the humorous “Government Cheese,” which featured Hicks’ sizzling synthesizer.
Mo’ joked that the band needed a horn section and they played kazoos during “The Old Me Better.” The band closed with “The Door,” where they all took turns singing lead as well as harmony. Hicks bought the house down with his incredible voice. He sounded like Stevie Wonder.
The band returned to play three encore songs. The audience was dancing in the aisles for “She Just Wants to Dance.” The musicians followed with “Better Man” where the lyrics are in direct contrast with “The Old Me Better.” Keb’ Mo’ closed the show with a moving version of “America the Beautiful.” He sang the first verse solo while picking at his acoustic guitar. The audience sang the final verse for him. It was a wonderful finish to a fantastic night of modern blues.
- Keb Mo
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room
March 12, 2016
Am I Wrong
Just like You
Don’t You Know
I’m Telling You Now
Hand It Over
Life Is Beautiful
More Than One Way Home
Somebody Hurt You
Shave Yo’ Legs
The Old Me Better
The Worst Is Yet to Come
She Just Wants to Dance
America the Beautiful