Bill Payne – Linda Norris Auditorium (Albany, NY)

Photo by Arnie Goodman
Photo by Arnie Goodman

With a career spanning four and a half decades, Payne had a lot of ground to cover, and he wasted no time in breaking into “A Thousand Nights,” representing his new collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. This was followed by a beautiful rendition of Lowell George’s “Feathers and a Smile” and another impressive Hunter/Payne track, “Wolf in the Wilderness.” Combined with striking photographs taken from his travels, it provided a wondrous aural, visual blend and served as a perfect counterpart to the music.

He was ably supported by 18-year-old guitar phenom Connor Kennedy, whose maturity on his instrument was impressive, along with current Feat drummer, Gabe Ford, who shook off any comparisons to his late predecessor, Richie Hayward, with a burning jazz-influenced solo on the classic “Gringo.”

Two hours, 45 minutes and an encore later, the audience wouldn’t leave; instead, they preferred to stand in line for autographs and chat with the man himself. That, my friends, says it all.

– Bob Girouard

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