Floyd was talking about music in general, but with a twinkle in his youthful eyes (and maybe a gasp in his breath because of the elevation), it was evident that he was talking about soul music. Floyd, along with an all-star lineup of Stax Records musicians—Steve Cropper (guitar), Lester Snell (keyboards), Duck Dunn (bass) and Steve Potts (drums)—played a set Saturday night at the Eccles Performing Arts Center in Park City that made it easy to make that covenant. With an arsenal of 167 Top 100 songs and 243 Top 100 R&B songs at their disposal, they did the record label proud by covering some 13 or so tunes for this show.
The evening started with an intro tune to warm the crowd up, after which Cropper introduced the band. Throughout the evening Cropper told stories, anecdotes and had “education time” between the songs, which was a highlight of the show. The four-piece—Floyd waited backstage for his time to shine—kicked up seven instrumentals, including “Booker Loo,” “Soul Limbo” (Cropper said this has been the theme to the English sports game cricket for 30 years), “Summertime,” “Hip-hug-her” and the quintessential Stax recording, “Green Onions.”
Each musician had his time to shine on at least one of the songs, where Cropper and Potts especially proved that their chops haven’t faltered. However, Cropper joked about his age. To introduce “Green Onions,” he said he was recently contacted by his publisher because an adult-diaper company wanted to use the tune in a commercial, to which he said with a laugh, “Maybe they’ll give me some of them, they might come in handy soon.”
Then the charming Eddie Floyd took center stage, and Cropper backed off the mic. Floyd ran up and down the stage and invited guests to join him onstage at various intervals (notice the guy wearing the Hawaiian shirt in the slideshow below). He acknowledged the elevation was effecting his singing, but his soulful voice filled the auditorium fully, regardless. Floyd sang other Stax musicians’ tunes, like Wilson Picket’s “In the Midnight Hour” and, of course, he sang his own, like “I'll Never Find a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)” and “Knock on Wood.”
Between those two songs, Floyd—in a move that was both awkward and endearing—called upon a teenager in the front row, exclaiming that he was the New Generation, and then he proceeded to wipe sweat from his brow onto New Generation’s head. Once that can was opened, several others wanted some of that soul-sweat souvenir.
The set ended with “Soul Man,” but the musicians couldn’t leave without paying homage to Otis Redding. They came out to encore with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” to end an evening that will, no doubt, keep the soul-music wick burning for some time to come.