Listening to a Lee Fields record is one thing.
Whether it’s his singles from the 70’s, his return to the studio in the 90’s or this year’s new release “Faithful Man,” through Fields’ raspy voice, the funk/disco/soul feel of the music and his eloquent lyrics, the listener is immediately taken back to a time when singers sang from the gut and the music had soul. Raw, almost painful soul, not the sub-genre “soul” of today.
But watching Lee Fields’ live show is a whole other mind-blowing, state-altering experience. Don’t take these words lightly: I put emphasis on every word, in the same way Fields does-on every single word-from the start to the climax of his show.
From the moment Fields sang the first note of the evening, he took this normally cool, “been there done that” LA crowd to church.
In old school form, he was engaging with the audience, introduced the songs with personal stories, and when he got down, man…he got down!
Music was different back in the day, what exactly was different and what separates those artists from today’s is hard to put into words.
Work ethic is one big difference. This man put emphasis on every single note he sang. It all came straight from his gut, which is one thing, but it poured out with real emotion in every song.
A good show can always be done, but here and there the artist will do a song where they lose you or the intensity of the energy slips down a few notches before it comes back up.
The biggest feat Fields accomplished was keeping the energy alive and at a high level throughout the entire show. Not for 20 seconds even, did he lose his crowd or drop the energy level. One must understand how difficult this is to upkeep.
This accomplishment was also due to Fields’ band, “The Expressions,“ a group of talented younger white boys. They really got down on “Money Is King,” speeding up the music from the onset, making the already funk-heavy joint sound extra heavy, extra bassy and extra live. This particular moment had the audience in a frenzy, along with everyone on and around the stage.
Meanwhile, Fields was running from one side of the stage to the other, dancing, dripping sweat, dropping down to do the splits.
And the energy of the most dynamic song of the night was matched with every other song Fields and his band did, whether it was a ballad like “Wish You Were Here” or a slower-paced tune such as “Faithful Man.”
And this is what I mean by work ethic: Fields gave a straight-up performance. Every moment was not only on point, but explosive.
I have yet to see entertainers more than half his age do a show half as hype or nearly as long.
Listening to his albums, I knew he was dope. Watching him live, I will ride for Fields for life.
Words/Photos: Ani Yapundzhyan