The players blew us away as they blew the blues and blew the blues away. It was all good, real good - from the high noon Oakland's Blue Roots to the long about sundown Roy Gaines Texas guitar legend - this family-oriented alcohol-free event rocked Rivertown.
Sarah Elizabeth's sexy exhilarating singin' wooh-woohed and wah-wahed the dancers and the standers and sitters and those using canes and walkers, and riding in wheelchairs.
"I don't wantcha," she sang, but we wanted her and she gave it to us, striding the stage in a short denim skirt - being pulled, pushed and driven by the blasting beauty of Rick Cantu's guitar. "I've been woo-woo something something," she sang and we got it without understanding the words.
Sideways to the stage, part of the crowd sat on the bone-white walkway walls zig-zagging up and east to the esplanade, shaded their eyes and had their place in the sun, which was bright and kind.
Earl Thomas, a California charmer in a classy hat and matching shorts and shirt sat singing some Etta and got up and told the audience to sing "Ooooohhhh, Booooohhhh Diddly," and we did. "OK," he said, "you got the words right, now I want people on the other side of town to hear it." We did and they did.
He came off the stage and into the crowd and sang to us, took photos of the bandstand dancers and won our hearts and suspended our troubles.
The bands played on and three girls played in the shining sheet of water that runs on terraced slabs slanting down Waldie Plaza after flowing under Second Street from City Hall. At the bottom, it is gathered and pumped back to City Hall to flow again, like the river to the sea. Some genius devised this wonder for us to ponder.
Dazzling sunlight, easy breezes, dancing water and swaying bodies all mixed in with words from different artists of songs so cool and blue. "What it is I can't give you … I woke up and didn't know right from wrong … I can't bear to see you walk away from me … you came home and you loved your kids." All mixed in with soulful musicianship.
Chris Cobb brought the Bay Area Diva Review. This seamy-faced guitarist can flat out play. His first diva was Patricia Wilder - no, not wilder, wildest - who got her licks in on a guitar that caught fire and had to be dipped in the river and brought out steaming hot and scalded our psyches. She turned her back to the audience and quivered her hips to set the stage to vibrating.
"Hooo, Baby whatcha want me to do?" She goes to the edge of the stage, gets up on the riff edge, gets on the roof and higher and higher and Wilder and Wilder.
The dancers went nuts. Kids bounced on shoulders. A purty woman in a camo T-shirt with PEACE on her chest and love in her legs went into a trance of a dance. Her ilia were flex pipes connecting her legs and torso as she bent and swayed ever whichaway as the guitars screamed with fever and mourned the loss of love but promised to rock with the roil of the wonderful Delta Blues.
The sexy Sarah Elizabeth, lead singer for Souled Blue, provides moral support for guitarist Smiley Lang.
The Sturm und Drang of the guitars generally steal every music show and there's no denying the power of those heavenly screeches, the tingling range of the twang of the strings as they pick and twist the dials.
But listen a minute to the sweet sex of the sax. Something smooth and low and mournful and rising with beauty. The sax, played by Gaines, is round and full. Then the group hits it with the down and with it going home blues that said goodnight sweetheart to the Delta Blues.