Taj Mahal at Royce Hall
Presented by UCLA Live, Taj Mahal roared into action at Royce Hall for a fierce set of blues. Howling at the moon was never so visceral.
Special guest opener Vieux Farka Toure brought an incredible array of sounds from his guitar and band, sounding at once ethereal, beautiful and powerful. Some unfortunate sound issues led to his guitar leads being unheard (at least by this audience member), but that’s not to say the performance was anything less than stunning nonetheless.
When Taj came out, this reviewer was blown away, having never seen him before. The joyous fury with which he threw out his guitar lines was incredible. Staples like “Blues With a Feeling” and “Zanzibar” were mind blowing and had the full house hollering early on. On “Blues With a Feeling” he was joined onstage by Farka Toure, and their chemistry was palpable. These were two guys, old and young, feeling it, sending it out, getting it back, and putting on a great show.
When Taj picked up his banjo, that was it for this reviewer. The banjo is just an amazing instrument. It’s a long held belief that all songs should have a banjo somewhere in the arrangement.
What an absolute treat it was to have these two acts together on one stage. A Master from the past and a Master ready to inhabit the future. Check them out when you have the chance!