Orlando, FL – On Saturday, March 9th, 2013, the City of Orlando held its 7th annual Blues B-Q concert. The concert, sponsored by several local businesses, was free and open to the public (although special VIP seating was available). There were several local food vendors selling everything from Jerk Jamaican Chichen to some killer Pulled Pork BBQ. The concert was held in front of the County Courthouse and the city closed off surrounding streets. Even the weather cooperated and the evening was clear, with a slight nip in the air.
There were three main musical guests slated to perform: RJ Harman & Company, Beautiful Bobby Blackmon, and Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Local band RJ Harman & Company opened the show with a set of great swing and blues. Harmon is a phenomenal harmonica player! The guitarist, Chris Valone was also laying down some mean licks and great swing comping. Their set included “Heartbreaker Swing” (off their current CD No Refunds), “Looking For Trouble,” and “Treat Me Right.”
Next up was Beautiful Bobby Blackmon, who laid down some brilliant blues and funky soul. High points of this set included and awesome rendering of “Feels Like Rain,” a rousing rendition of “Give Me One Reason,” and a talkbox/tremolo driven “Brick House.” The crowd, which had grown considerably, erupted as Blackmon started playing the Marvin Gaye classic “Let’s Get It On.” Thousands of people were swaying, dancing, and singing along – it was beautiful! The other great thing about this set was the sound quality: it had so much depth, it was almost 3-D.
Closing out the evening was Robert Randolph and The Family Band. From the first note, this band was in overdrive! Randolph’s playing gets better and better all the time. High points of this set included “Shake Your Hips,” “Sacred Steel,” and “The March.” The crowd was completely won over and very appreciative. The only downside to this set was the sound mix, which was terrible. Where Beautiful Bobby Blackmon’s mix had depth, Randolph’s mix was one dimensional, shrill at times, way too much gain, and NO depth at all. What a shame because the playing was insanely good.
This was the largest turnout this event has seen in seven years. New this year, there was also a Sneakers 2 Succeed shoe drive for NBA player Chris Duhon’s Stand Tall Foundation. We are already looking forward to next year’s event!