My appreciation of the multi-talented Boz Scaggs began more than a dozen years ago with his horn-laden ditty “Runnin’ Blue.” At the time I was aware of Boz solely from his sleek Silk Degrees days, but dug the fact he could make any genre come alive with his distinctive vocal pipes.
On July 25, it was a pleasant stroll down memory lane at the South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset, MA where under a tent alongside 2,000 other fans, Boz kicked off a to-the-point yet dynamic 90-minute set with a peppier take of “Runnin’ Blue.” Backed by six musicians and a female back-up singer, the lithe Boz, dressed in an untucked white shirt with sleeves rolled up high, black pants and trendy black shoes, took to the stage, went through a bevy of guitars and set forth enthralling us with his varied catalogue spanning more than 45 years.
Humble in the glow of his fans’ fervor, Boz made sure his setlist was a sturdy mix of new tunes, tracks from his self-described “Hollywood” period, and, of course, the songs that catapulted him to music royalty. We heard the debonair “JoJo,” the bluesy “Some Change,” and an energized quartet of Silk Degrees songs – “Georgia,” “What Can I Say,” “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle” (the last two of which audience members got out of their seats for, dancing their hearts out and rivaling Boz for vocal supremacy).
Scaggs also made sure his set contained a generous portion of songs from his most recent A Fool to Care album (yet surprisingly nothing from the preceding Memphis album). These included the title track, “Hell to Pay,” “Last Tango on 16th Street,” and “There’s a Storm a Comin’,” all of which Boz tackled with a refined coolness that kept us smiling and his silver hair in place the whole time.
Ending the same way as he started, with a bluesy bang, Boz unleashed all 12 minutes of the classic “Loan Me a Dime.” All that was missing was Duane Allman in the house. Though he kept things tight, Boz conveyed his musical lowdown in a fully pleasing manner.