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Al Green, Centennial Concert Hall, Winnipeg

Al Green

Al Green at the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Centennial Concert Hall, June 30 2009. Anthony Fernando photo.

Review - Al Green at the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Centennial Concert Hall, June 30 2009

– text by Eugene Osudar/photos by Anthony Fernando

weirdly brilliant


i’ve been writing
that Genius
word (mucho)
during this
Jazz Winnipeg Festival

TV Theme songs
a la The Bad Plus
Sonic Youth
That’s John Stetch’s
conducting Star Trek
This Is It! oh, Bugs Bunny!

well, Miles Davis was,
his music Is

so Jimmy Cobb
and The So What? Band’s
of Kind Of Blue
50 years later…

Miles Davis

Jane Bunnett’s
Embracing Voices
voices and melodies
dance the night away
it’s the heart you gave away
Oh Haiti, Oh Cuba
Oh Africa
where the oppressed
make the art
The Best Art
Thank you, Samuel James
for repeating this Truth.


Al Green.

One of a kind.

how so?

well, only The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
could get Every single person
in the ho-hum Concert Hall
on their feet and Dancing!

i was there, for the beginning
(no one standing
no one dancing)
and the ending of their set
(dance anarchy in the Concert Hall!)

in the beginning, there were 3
on stage
and i thought, okay
that’s it,

Gypsophilia at the Rachel Browne

so i do the Jazz Winnipeg Festival venue dash!

small venue
gypsy music
from a so young Halifax band
they’ll do gypsy music so true
to the gypsy spirit

perfectly anguished, tortured joy

the anguish and the torture
wasn’t evident

it was about the joyful beauty
in the gypsy style

an amazing 120 people
in the Rachel Browne Theatre

Sa ba sa Ow!
(funk/jazzy!boogie-woogie piano)


A Oha
(dance song for a wedding party)

Coming Soon
(a train song, airy light
swaying down the tracks,
feet/stomping, banger/clanger
by the end of this train’s journey)

Agricola & Sarah
(sadly beautiful)(saying good-bye song)

Jewish Dance Party!
(dance wedding music
shake it up!)

Gina’s Gzardes
(violin to melt the chills)

(a waltz)

You Make Time
(another fun train song
that steadily climbs
and whoooooooshes
down the rolling hills)

(gorgeous quirk and then a quickie novelty version
of same song)


love this band. all the parts
make a wonderful

Ross Burns on electric guitar
Sageev Oore superbly freewheelin’ boogie on piano
Matt Myer on clearly wonderful trumpet
Nick Wilkinson, the foundation of the band, on guitar
Adam Fine on double bass
Alec Frith on guitar

that’s three guitars doing three different
things at the same time and yet, making One
Gorgeous Whole

Gina Burgess, dancing joyfully on the violin

catch them when they return…

dashing back to Concert Hall

i discover dance anarchy
if there was room
for a mosh pit…

okay, maybe not to that degree.

I have Never seen an audience
at the Concert Hall
rocking so hard

what have i missed?

Jeff Robson’s bulging eyes
say it all
“why did you leave!”
he says, “you of all people
would have been dancing!”


so much to do at this festival!

so much to miss…

i missed something beautiful.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
from New Orleans.

for something beautiful.

from Halifax.

i returned
to dance

to see someone
who is,
The Legend
says one of Al’s daughters
(who sing back-up vocals
in the large and so tight
with two tall lean grooving male dancers!)

not that Al Green didn’t dance
he most assuredly did
and handing out
a hundred? red roses

Al Green in Winnipeg

Al Green at the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Centennial Concert Hall. Anthony Fernando photo.

and toss scores more to outstretched
beautiful women
your hands
your feet
your smiles
your eyes
your cheeks
your hips
your lips

which Al Green kissed and kissed
and kissed and kissed
and kissed


those waiting lips,

the band walks on stage
at 9:32
and leave slowly
at 11 PM
one by one
after Al is the first
to walk away,

after shaking so many hands

shaking so many hearts

with our hearts
in tow

(in his heart)

he promised to be back
next year
so many many many times

and you know
The Reverend
means it

he loves it
this Winnipeg audience
so in Love with him

we stand
we’re ready to dance
even before he steps
into the stage lights

we’re applauding roaring
for The Man

for The Songs

for His Love

True Love

that’s what he is all about

i have never felt a Winnipeg
audience so ready to be in

the moment
experience of



we’re ready!

and when he sees us

he asks us

to sit

truly, he is One Of A Kind!

we want to dance for him
and he wants us down.

Love Somebody

and sometimes he doesn’t
sing into the mike
so many,many times

and we can’
t hear his Voice that voice
that falsetto
that roar!
that man is so connected to the spiritual
that we’re seeking

it’s time

we’re crying
to dance as he boogies it down

in dark suit and tie, red vest.

is he 25?



he is alive

with the spirit
of the now

take it from his heart
and go into the groove
The LOve Groove

when i used to religiously
listen to Al Green
25 years ago
for the time of my 20s

i remember reading the stories
of his concerts

the self-conversations
the not singing into the mike

the withholding?

no, it’s the giving
of the moment

he’s not the Vegas
he’s not the corporate

he didn’t sign with the evil
dictated to by the $$$$

he’s the real
he’;s the Now feel

self confident and knowing smile

he is In The Moment

Can I get a Witness!!!!!!
he screams preacher style
over and over

i’m yelling back

that makes the joy sheerly
ecstatic when he gives
you the Love
deep inside his marrow

come to us
with your True Love

heart’s ready
to accept

and we stand and we dance
when his dancers
stride on stage

well, i was standing at the very back
i was dancing at the very back

the only real place to dance
in the Concert Hall.

but i wasn’t up front

the women who came to him
with their lips

with their hands
the roses

from The Reverend

go to his church
in Memphis
and be in The Moment

Greg, owner of Into The Music,
says after the show
as we jumped for joy
in each other’s arms
after finally seeing

Al Green

says to me, “i have friends
who’ve gone to Memphis and been to his
church services,now that’s
an experience!!!”

can you imagine
how i feel
about Al Green?

(i’m crying right now)

that’s my confession
my true love
for his
(true love)

these are tears
these are my 20s
listening to him
over and over
on the vinyl

dancing to him

Love and Happiness

dreaming of the True Love
and Believing i found her
in my 30s
after searching the world
backpacking everywhere
for her
and she walked into my life and my heart
and my soul
only to discover
she ran

after Al Green sings
about the true love where
you walk together

through the good
and the bad


Let’s Stay Together

it’s there
and deeply rooted in his songs
the message
the honor
of true love

Lay It Down

Al says,
“I brought the real musicians!”

Amen to that
John M and i talk about that
after the concert

he brought Musicians
not hacks
he brought his daughters
he brought dancers
he brought
his songs
of True Love
and we danced!

Next Year
he’ll return
Next Year
we’ll dance

and feel it

True Love

rose after rose

kiss after kiss

dance after dance

Everything’s Going to Be Alright

he’s on his knees

his jacket’s off

he falls

he writhes

he stands

on his own two feet

even a broken heart


this much i know. even a broken heart,
true love.

Amazing Grace

standing O!

Let’s Stay Together
we’re all dancing.
As One.
dancers on stage/

then he sings,

and here is where
i cried
last night,
alone and
together again

“How can you mend a broken heart?”

is Divine
(theirs wasn’t)
i’m feeling the power
of Al Green’s True Love

it’s only love
that mends broken hearts

so we dance

(i’m always dancing)

cuz we’re dead a long time.

and just when
i’m thinking
the weird’s
really about to
be unleashed

as he’s preaching about drugs
we’re servants of God
the band played good and loud
but Nobody said anything
and i’m thinking oh my
where is this going?

Al Green
leads us through
the music
that shaped
his Divine Genius

Sugar pie honey bunch
Four Tops!!!!
I got sunshine on a cloudy day
David Ruffin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you ever change your mind
Sam Cooke!!!!
ve been loving you too long,
just a few verses, a chorus
a medley of Motown
and Stax
where his song
came from
his true love
Sitting on the dock of the bay
Otis Redding!!!!!!!!!!!!!
and then,

I’m So Tired of Being Alone
my guts are wrenching
twisting in this
my alone and together
with the world

and “i’m still in love with you.”

Love and Happiness
is the last song
of this
dancers return

we’re all moving grooving away
Al Green
20 30 40 50 times!

he’s in Love
again, as

The One Of A Kind

Al Green
Jazz Winnipeg Festival
Concert Hall, June 30.

Al Green concert photo

Al Green at the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Centennial Concert Hall. Anthony Fernando photo.

About Eugene Osudar

“born, august 16, 1963. i’m 45, and yes, i’m getting too old for this. bring out the rocking chair. my first concert, november 1978, elvis costello and the attractions. i was 15. their blisteringly brilliant 65 minute set only served somebody to affirm my new direction in the musical parallel universes, new wave punk alternative, oh sanctity oh celebration (!Freedom!) college radio! i’m old, i’m used up and i’m free. i see 50something Full sets of music every month and dance most of them. and when i dance, i mean to say, I Dance and Celebrate, 2/3/4 hours a night. The Gaslight Anthem. The Boss. The Weber Brothers. The Wind Ups. i’ll dance with Los Campesinos. i’ll move to The Long Winters. The Replacements. Husker Du. The Pogues. oh elvis costello, oh Clash! i could go/go/go Gogol Bordello forever. L(eonard) Cohen. come, Dance With Me (Old 97s) wherever you may be, sincerely, eugene
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