ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 3, 1988
By Steve Newton
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I heard that Edgar Winter and Leon Russell were going to share the same stage, but I did know that I should definitely be there. I was aware that Winter was something of a wildman–prone to leaping about and getting right into his saxophone–and that Russell was more laid-back, famous for such mellow tunes as “Lady Blue” and “This Masquerade”.
When I asked around to see what my fellow partiers at 86 Street last Wednesday (May 25) were expecting musically, they were kinda lost as well, but one of them came up with the term “feel-good music”. As it turned out, that was as apt a handle as any, because it was awful hard to feel down once Leon started crooning “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. And then when Edgar blew his heart out on the tune’s sax solo it was all over.
The 86 Street crowd easily gave in to the joyful sounds, and whether it was Edgar flippin’ out on past hits like “Free Ride” and “Frankenstein”, or Leon adding his own down-home touch to Ray Charles’ “Georgia”, the two American rock greats couldn’t lose.
They did a knock ’em down, drag ’em out version of “Tobacco Road”, a tune from Winter’s White Trash days, and left us reeling with an encore combining “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Good Golly Miss Molly”, and “Keep Playin’ That Rock and Roll”.