Chris Stapleton & Gabriel Kelley
Mojo Club, Hamburg
18 maart 2016
Chris Stapleton is a magical risin’ music star, not only by his big wins at 2015 CMA Awards, but also by his nomination for a Grammy and his starry appearance at the show in honor and tribute to the KING OF BLUES – B.B. KING by the song “The Thrill Is Gone” together with icons Bonnie Raitt and Gary Clark Jr. He is not only entitling himself so by his song “Traveller”, he really is. What he really enthuses is being on the road and finally in March 2016 the time was right and there for his first shows in Good Ole’ Europe. On this rather cold Friday night the tour stop was at Hamburg, beloved city of singer Hans Albers. The most famous song by him was “Auf der Reeperbahn Nachts Um Halb Eins” (On The Reeperbahn Nightly At Half Past One” ), the song describing the famous red-light-district. So there was nothing more obvious to book a venue at Hamburg’s hottest milestone, which was the sold-out, stylish, underworld Mojo-Club.
Tekst en foto’s: Markus Hagner, Markus Hagner Photography
Sometimes there a great surprises by a rather unknown special show-guest which was this night Gabriel Kelley, born in Georgia. First he appeared in the spot-light solo, equipped by his guitar and his harmonicas ready, but somehow there was a technical problem and he vanished quickly again. About 15 minutes later he was back and started by the Robert Johnson blues “Come On In My Kitchen”. There was this special aha-effect by his strong, alternatively perceptive voice. Fingerpickin’ guitar artistry and his harp play. The cheers were like a starting storm. Songs like “The Road I Ride”, “Lighter Shade Of Blues” and “It Don’t Come Easy” were celebrated enthusiastically and after extended play-time of approximately 45 minutes he was farewelled with angelic applause.
There was a rather long waiting-pause, but when Chris Stapleton, his wife Morgane and band-friends were hailing the stage there was a warmish loud-blast of welcome-thunderstorm. The beardsman wearing his straw-hat was to hoodoo immediately by “Nobody To Blame”. His voice was ever charismatic and his behavior was so natural and likeable. CS was not accompanied by a pedal-steel player, by this he was proving what virtuoso hell of a guitar player he really is. The fans were just sensational from the very first refrains, they knew all the texts by heart and they sang along all of them like an additional thousand fans being present; like in a packed Grand Ole’ Opry… They proved that also Germany is his home country by music-love. Chris and also specially Morgane were soo overwhelmed. The song-interpretation was much heavier and rougher than on cd; kickin’-ass Southern Rock with a country-bluesin’ twang. Chris & Morgane were off course also delighting with enchanting, sensitive tunes, the notch of them was “If It Hadn’t Been for Love”.
By “You Are My Sunshine” which will be featured on the upcoming release “Southern Family” Morgane was in the main spotlight. She proved that she is not only just a background-singer, but also by loveable, strong canto a great lead-vocalist… CS loves to sing about Tennessee and its national sweetie-spirit Whiskey, which he did intensively by “Tennessee Whiskey”. He played it the ravishing style featuring hot bluesy solos. Maestro Stapleton is more than juist an ordinary musical country-hombre… His voice was ever so soulful. The regular set end had already been achieved. By the tormenting applause Chris entered the holy grail solo for his meditative, solo magic of “Whiskey And You” By the never ending fervidity-claps by the freaks the band and Morgane re-entered the stage again for a last encore “Sometimes I Cry”. This was the sensational, ear-blowing southern-blues-rockin’ end jam! Chris was cajoling his axe the wild style and by the jam it was the special-time of dynamite rhythms by most excellent J.T. Cure on bass and Derek Mixon on drums. Chris saluted his devotees a last time and gave away some guitar-picks as gift.
A extraterrestrial, five-star concert was over. Authentic, handmade live- music, without overdubs. The traveller Chris Stapleton continued his journey on the road, way back to America – Rollin & Tumblin, similar to the colorful, illuminated ferris wheel at the nearby Dom (Hamburg carousel-fair). Hopefully the European fans will be delighted to see him again on tour in 2016. Probably, rarely never again in such a close and thrilling intimate venue like the Mojo-Club. Our thanks go to Wizpro and Tobias Dietermann for the accreditation…