Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Stanley Johnson
Were you “Tuff Enuff” to brave the rain for the Fabulous Thunderbirds?
The inaugural Alive at Five concert of the summer season got off to a mighty soggy start, and despite the best efforts of the concerts series organizers to try to get the show in before the sky opened up – the T-Birds took the stage 20 minutes earlier than the usual headliners’ start time – the blues fans in Albany’s Riverfront Park got soaked with a never hard nor heavy, but always steady rain from the moment frontman Kim Wilson launched the band into the opening “Wait On Time” straight through to the show-closing encore of “I Want to Believe.”
Wilson and his current incarnation of the T-Birds focused on tunes from their latest album, “On the Verge,” marking a distinct shift away from the blues and venturing into a deep soul groove that balanced equal influences from Memphis and Muscle Shoals. “Lovin’ Time,” “Runnin’ From the Blues” and the slinky slow grind of “Lonely Highway” emerged as some of the new album’s most potent selections, and the crowd roared with delight during the latter when Wilson moaned the lyric, “It’s a lonely stretch of highway, and the rain is pouring down…”