Leon Russell – Capitol Theatre (Port Chester, NY)

leon russell capitol theatreWith Billy Payne on the cover of the current Elmore, I went focused on the Little Feat performance, but when Leon Russell took the stage, I snapped back to reality. This master singer/keyboardist and Rock Hall member played for an hour and a half, nonstop, segueing from song to song with only the occasional sentence to put a tune in context.

Russell referenced the Flying Burrito Brothers before launching into a more uptempo version of “Wild Horses” than the Stones’ original, and introduced us to a groupie on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour who had recently passed away, telling us about her cooking before launching in to a touching solo version of his own “Sweet Emily.” Few artists can rock as hard, then sound so heartbreakingly sweet as Russell, who proved that point again and again with “Delta Lady,” “Tightrope,” “Georgia (On My Mind)” and a medley of “Kansas City Here I Come” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

The restored Capitol Theatre deserves mention, too.  The restoration is impeccable, and the sound is even better.  The staff was both professional and friendly, a welcome change from many other venues.It’s definitely worth the trip, especially for music like Leon Russell’s. More on the Feat later.

– Suzanne Cadgene

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