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Last Night: Toots and the Maytals


Toots and the Maytals

Sunday, October 28, 2007

City Limits--Delray Beach

Better Than: Getting Swept in the World Series

Reggae fans around the world should be familiar with the raspy yet powerful voice of Toots Hibbert, enigmatic frontman of legendary band, Toots and the Maytals. The group has left their amazing and inimitable stamp on the genre of reggae for years. Initially in the mid 60s and 70s the original line-up cranked out numerous number one hits like, "Pressure Drop" and "Country Road," and these days, the current line-up is a force to be reckoned with as well.

Last night they played a fairly intimate set at City Limits in Delray Beach for the final stop of their tour and you could almost feel the cosmic energy swirling through the venue.

It needs to be said that Toots is in great shape for a man that's been playing reggae live since 1964. He moves and grooves like a man half of his age. Maybe it was because this was the last night of the tour but Toots was visibly having a great time on stage and was laughing and dancing for most of the hour long set. During certain parts of the show, it was almost like watching James Brown at the Apollo Theatre circa 1962 as Toots' footwork was rather impressive. So were the sexy backup singers on stage that just happened to be Toot's daughters.

For the most part, the crowd got to hear all of the band's greatest hits. It's a given that the band will crank out, "54-46 That's My Number" and "Pressure Drop" but it was a treat to hear "Bam Bam" and "Monkey Man" worked into the set as well. As a music critic, I admit to being a touch hard to impress but during last night's version of "Monkey Man" I was jumping around swirling like a hippie at Bonnaroo. The instrumentation was all top notch throughout the night. All of the musicians were locked into a groove so tight, everyone could have been playing with their eyes closed and still been perfectly in synch.

The band is taking a well needed break but will be back in Fort Lauderdale for the Jam Cruise around the first of January...

Critics Notebook:

Personal Bias: I always like seeing a band's state of mind during the last night of a grueling tour, as it's either going to be the best of worst gig that they play. 50/50 odds were on my side and it paid off.

Random Detail: Toots came out on stage wearing black leather chaps, black leather shoes, and a black leather vest. If that's not badass for an aging reggae singer, I don't know what is.

By the way: If you want to hear more of Toots and the Maytals, check out their MySpace and hear some of best songs ever recorded within the genre of reggae.

- Jonathan Cunningham

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Jonathan Cunningham

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