The Gilligan in me decided to go check out one of the most amazing performers I've ever laid eyes on sing her heart out at the Rocks Off Concert Cruise last Friday night. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are pure soul, pure funk, pure stage show, and pure excitement. It's like seeing a Broadway play. After eating a massive burrito, a few friends of mine stepped onto the large beautiful boat, got a beer, a $1 coozy that had a unicorn humping a dolphin on it and set sail on the mighty Hudson River. Pure bliss.
Binky Griptite , the Dap-Kings energetic lead guitar player, wasted no time in starting the show. The boat set sail at 9pm and the horn stabs began promptly at 9:01pm. Binky warmed the audience up with some of his own brand of soul before the 110 pound Jones came out to knock us all out. Binky is another incredibly talented performer; so being "warmed up" is an understatement. The dude can sing, play, and his throw back intros for Jones are perhaps as entertaining as the music is.
Jones sweated through her first set of music that involved nothing but pure tenderness. That little woman, like I've said before, is a Ford Bronco. She's a pickup truck, a steam engine, and all of the above. She doesn't miss a single note, and even at 50 years young, she has more energy than anyone I've ever seen. Hell, I had to sit down during her first set from dancing so much. She was dancing twice as hard, singing her heart out, and commanding a band. I'm less than half her age.
After Jones' first set, everyone went on the front and back of the boat enjoying the amazing views of Manhattan and dare I say it, New Jersey. The Colgate clock and some tall woman holding some torch were amazing to see from a boat blaring Earth, Wind, and Fire. Drinks in hand, beautiful weather, a big boat, and some nice conversation with The Dap Kings. Hmm, I know why I moved to New York now.
Jones came back with even more force for her second set. She asked if anyone has seen her commercial. (She's in a commercial for New York 1 or something like that. You've probably seen it and were wondering who that amazing woman was singing "This Land Is Your Land." Well, yeah, that's her). We all cheered and she romped into the Woody Guthrie anthem.
Jones was constantly dancing and during her second set, she had some visitors. Guys half her age were coming on stage to not only dance with the singer, but DANCE with her. Lots of sexual dancing was going on with the female James Brown. But hell, it's hard not to fall in love with her. And you know what? She out-danced every single one of them. She handled like a true performer. She gave them kisses and had absolutely no problem outshining anyone who came on stage to strut their dance moves. She wasn't trying to look better, she just is.
After Jones' second electrifying set, we were all soaked from dancing for so long. But that wasn't all. I walked on over to the side of the stage to snap a few pictures and when she finally came out for an encore, I was standing next to two other guys. She kissed the first guy on the cheek and said, "We don't stop." She kissed the next guy and repeated, "We don't stop." Then she came up to me, looked me in the eyes and said, "WE DON'T STOP, DO WE SUGAR?" She kissed me on the cheek, went up to the mic, and threw the final punch. I sat there speechless. Who the hell is this woman and where does she come from?
Thanks to Rocks Off and Ms. Jones and The Dap Kings for one of the best nights of my life. Thanks to Daniel Arnold, who took some amazing shots of the show. Check them out here.