Gregory Porter at Town Hall, NYC


It’s a long time since I enjoyed a concert as thoroughly as I enjoyed Gregory Porter at Town Hall.
His charisma is undeniable and his voice is unsurpassable. He even found time in between blowing the roof off with the power of his voice to allow a fan to propose to his girlfriend. Something neither of them is likely to forget in a hurry.
In many ways his act could be looked upon as a piece of nostalgia reaching back to a comforting past by calling upon the jazz and soul greats of yesteryear but there is something very contemporary about the way he approaches his task. Or perhaps another way of putting it is that there is something that builds upon a heritage that is eternal. Be it Marvin Gaye or Duke Ellington the greats of these fields were not just making music for the era. They tapped into an eternal truth that brilliant playing, great songs and singing is for all time.
Like all good live performers Porter had a ready wit that put a different perspective on his material. At one point his piano accompaniment, courtesy of Chip Crawford, started riffing on the Star Wars Theme before seguing into the beautiful ballad ‘No Love Dying’. Only people with supreme control over their material can attempt such a feat and pull it off so beautifully.
He was also politically aware enough to reference the current spate of police killings of African American men in away that would make even the hardest hearted conservative see the justice in the cause.
The overall feel of the event was something akin to a religious revival with the audience frequently being invited to sing along which they did with a surprising amount of skill.
I very much doubt whether I will see a better concert all year.

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