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Concert Reviews:
Alto Reed fills the plate at inaugural holiday concert
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK



DETROIT -- Alto Reed's new holiday tradition got off to a strong -- and long -- start on Friday night (Nov. 26) at the Fillmore Detroit.

The Silver Bullet Band's first annual All Star Thanksgiving Celebration was a festive a rock 'n' roll occasion that, like many holiday meals, left participants perhaps a bit overstuffed. With its plethora of performers, late start and longer-than-expected changeovers, the show crept well into Saturday, wrapping up about 12:45 a.m. -- club time for a classic rock-aged audience that doesn't do much clubbing anymore. So a good half of the Fillmore crowd filtered out during the later parts of the show and missed the closing-set fireworks.

Fortunately, that's easy to fix for subsequent editions of the Celebration. And the better news is that the show's component parts made for a genuinely special musical occasion of proudly displayed Detroit love.

Collaborations marked the best part of the five-hour-plus night -- which raised money for Goodwill Industries -- whether it was David Shelby and Barbara Payton joining Julianne and the Rogues or Motown star Martha Reeves hooking up with the Brothers Groove and the Motor City Horns for Van Morrison's "Wild Night," her own "Jimmy Mack" and an epic "Dancing in the Streets," with the Dramatics' Michael Brock and Reed joining in.

Cowboy Troy from Big & Rich's Muzik Mafia collective was the Howling Diablos' special guest, veering away from his usual rap-oriented fare to duet with Martin "Tino" Gross on the Willie Nelson-Ray Charles chestnut "Seven Spanish Angles" and power through the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and Motorhead's "Ace of Spaces," which Troy introduced tongue-in-cheek as his "favorite country song of all time."

Reed's set, meanwhile, brought on the motherlode. After the saxophonist and his own band, Detroit's Groove Council, offered up Bob Seger favorites such as "Sunspot Baby" and "Horizontal Bop" -- and, later, "Turn the Page" and "Night Moves" -- he started bringing out guests starting with is daughter Victoria, who belted out a soulful take on Robert Johnson's "Com On in My Kitchen." Jeff Daniels took a pre-game shot at Ohio State before singing his bluesy "Detroit Train," then Mitch Ryder joined the troupe for the band Detroit's cover of the Velvet Underground's "Rock and Roll" and his hit medleys "Devil With the Blue Dress On"/"Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Jenny Take a Ride"/"CC Rider."

Brock returned to join Reed and company for Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," and former Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner -- whose guitar effects pedals were lost earlier in the day on his flight from Traverse City -- roared through "Footstompin' Music" and "Rock 'n' Roll Soul" with fellow Grand Funk alum (and now Silver Bullet keyboardist) Craig Frost before bringing the house down with "I'm Your Captain"/"Closer to Home." Farner and Frost stuck around for a shambolic romp through Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll," while the full company brought the night home with Al Green's "Take Me to the River," a final treat for the bleary-eyed fans who remained and will most likely make the Celebration part of their annual Thanksgiving weekend calendar.



Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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