Nostalgia acts repeat themselves first as a carbon copy and then as a caricature. This effects just about everybody, it effects Paul McCartney as certainly as it does Yes and Bruce as surely as the Rolling Stones: Nostalgia takes our deepest longings, sticks it in a house of mirror and feeds it back to us.
This was equally true of Morris Day And The Time at BB King’s on Friday night. The 1980s funk merchants who grabbed onto High School friend Prince’s coattails with all their might and dragged themselves out of Minnesota and on to the world stage as world class funkateers with a wicked sens e of humor. Morris Fay made himself into a cartoon loverboy with a shout out of “Somebody bring me a mirror” and the ever present valet Jerome on home.
Morris Day was already a cartoon character, a caricature of a peacock and lover boy and lead singer.
And 40 years later he hasn’t missed as much as you’d think because The Time was always about schtick and caricatures so by remaining all put on all the time he can sell nostalgia and himself at the same time.
It worked for more than half of the 60 minute show, The first 25 minutes were a great ride through Morris’ most rhythmic grooves as he segues through a handful of his most popular hits. Dressed in a dapper suit and wearing shades, Morris lead his band with a shout out for the ages “What time is it?” before tearing their way through “Give It Up” -“get ready for a real good time. I’m gonna try to blow your mind.”
Whatever connection Morris has with the audience is on a pure performance level and on a performance level, he dances with Jerome and uses every inch of the stage while seguing into the awesome “Cool” with its “Anybody hot because we’re cool” shoutalong! “Pandemonium” is followed by Chocolate” and Morris takes the quickest of hellos before launching into “Wild And Free” and it takes 25 minutes before the band losen up the keyboards driven groove for one second.
This is exactly what I was hoping for but then the set derails for 20 minutes with the band taking over for a song, Morris singing from behind the stage (costume change) and then an endless and stupid piece of business where all”the sexy” girls in the audience get on the stage and get off the stage and the entire thing irritates me, he band loses me through to the end of the show.
But not the audience, by the end everybody is going crazy to “The Bird” and I am close to forgiving Morris myself. It wasn’t a bad show and if he had played the hour straight through it would’ve been a great show. But instead he cut it up and chopped it out and despite the man being a much cooler egoist than Kanye West, he can’t sell the mid show sludginess.
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