Yesterday Bobby McFerrin gave a concert in Lisboa, at the Coliseu.
It was a “solo” concert, which consisted mainly of the man and his microphone. And it was enough to blow me away (along with the rest of the audience). If you’ve ever seen the videos of other concerts by Bobby (most notably his Bach pieces) you have an idea of what it was like.
We had mostly jazz tunes, but also the occasional classical piece, all sung by the man himself.
Except when it wasn’t just him (I did put the word solo in quotes up there,) and he got the whole audience to sing with him, or the time when he got some 30 people on stage with him and he conducted them into an impromptu choir. Or when he asked someone to come up to the stage and dance to his singing. Oh and I mustn’t forget about his foray into the crowd, fetching volunteers to sing some simple pattern to act as a basis for his improvisations.
He also had a guest guitar player which, when compared with all the rest of the evening, pales a lot (even though his performance was extremely good).
It was an incredible evening, that’s for sure and the feeling I got was that everyone felt a real connection with the show and felt themselves as making part of it at some stage or another, which is something I think is quite rare. Even when he went down into the crowd to look for (quite a few) volunteers to do the small skits with, people (mostly) participated with sheer joy, instead of shying away.
As for his vocal qualities, well, there’s not much I can say here that hasn’t been stated time and again by people who know his music. The sheer vocal range he has, the impeccable sense of timing and rhythm, the joy of his singing… People don’t call him a musical genius for nothing (and I’m not even alluding to all of his many accomplishments in so many fields of music!)
And the man has a sense of humor. He sure does!
Truly a unique experience.
If you have the chance to catch Bobby playing –or rather, singing– live I heartily recommend you grab it without hesitation. I know I will, if ever the chance comes again.