LIVE: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings @ The Egg, 12/5/15
Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
“I’m so glad I’m alive right now! I wanna live! I wanna live!,” the fiery soul sister Sharon Jones declared at the end of “Get Up and Get Out,” her penultimate song of her concert at The Egg’s Hart Theatre last month. She was stomping her feet, rocking back and forth and testifying with all the hellfire and brimstone of tent revival preacher. “This chemo is kicking my behind, but I’m gonna kick it right back.”
Jones was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013. She canceled her tour and pushed back the release date of her album, Give the People What They Want, but she beat the disease through invasive surgery and a grueling regimen of chemotherapy… or so she thought. In September, just a week after her concert at The Egg was announced, she revealed that the cancer had returned. But Jones is nothing if not a scrapper, and she decided to plunge ahead with her current tour despite another ongoing round of physically and emotionally draining chemo.
Decked out in a hot pink dress adorned with sparkling sequins and shimmying fringe, Jones gave her all at The Egg, and there were moments when it seemed as though the insidious disease may have melted away. Backed by her solid, nine-piece soul band, the Dap-Kings, and her two back-up singers, the Dapettes (who also opened the soul-revue-style show with an impressive 35-minute set of their own as Saun & Starr), Jones wailed through a mix of her R&B nuggets (the opening “Stranger to My Happiness,” the swaggering “If You Call” and the show-closing “100 Days, 100 Nights”) with seasonal selections from her new album, It’s a Holiday Soul Party (most notably the Andrews Sisters-style tight harmonies of “Big Bulbs” [with the Dapettes], a torchy rendition of “Please Come Home for Christmas” and the uber-funky “8 Days [Of Hanukkah]”).
But from the start of her show, Jones was also battling an unsatisfactory monitor mix, and she wasn’t shy about displaying her mounting frustration. Throughout the show, she sometimes begged, sometimes demanded more volume or reverb from the soundman, and she apologized numerous times about the mix to the audience as well.
In good health, Jones is nothing short of a human dynamo in the spotlight. She didn’t – couldn’t – live up to that level of performance at The Egg, but she gave it all that she had, and it was a measure of her considerable talent, determination and dedication to the music that precious few in the crowd walked away disappointed.
Bryan Lasky’s review and photographs at Pancakes and Whiskey
SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS SET LIST
Stranger to My Happiness
Please Come Home for Christmas
Keep On Looking
Making Up and Breaking Up (And Making Up and Breaking Up Over Again)
She Ain’t a Child No More
Funky Little Drummer Boy
8 Days (Of Hanukkah)
Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah (Saun & Starr)
When the Saints Come Marchin’ In
If You Call
Just Another Christmas Song
People Don’t Get What They Deserve
Ain’t No Chimneys in the Projects
Without a Heart
Get Up and Get Out
100 Days, 100 Nights