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Published: 2002/05/30
by Margot Main

Soulive, Elbo Room, San Francisco- 5/20

A free night away from opening for The Dave Matthews Band at Shoreline Arena
(May 20th) meant a special night of music at San Francisco's Elbo room on
Valencia Street.

Having not frequented small San Francisco bars, it was indeed a very special
Soulive night as they charmed the crowd in a comfortably tight, intimate
environment. For some this was their first Soulive experience, for others a
chance to restart their enthusiasm after a disappointing Fillmore show back
on April 13; however, for many this night was a reaffirmation of the band's
talent and ability to bring groove-infused smiles to all sorts of different
faces.

"Let The Music Take Your Mind" swept through the audience like a wisp of
fresh scented wind circling through the bar's open door stairwell. Alan
Evans (drums) hopped up to take an audience request and settled on "Rudy's
Way". In a flash, heads bopped, feet tapped, souls shined and smiles
radiated. Moving into "Steppin" anyone who had any doubts about the band's
next step of adding Sam Kinninger on saxophone were dispelled. The groove
was large as folks sunk into the comfortable layers of the band's soulfully
funky sound.

Eric Krasno went deep into his zone while his fingers danced perfectly
choreographed riffs across his guitar. Neal Evans was alive with the spirit
of syncopated liberty as his fingers redefined keyboard deftness. Sam
Kinninger weaved his saxophone sound so tight and smooth it seemed as if it
floated in tandem with everyone's notes. Alan Evans was one with his drums
and kept the beat flowing similar to the moon directing the ocean tide.

Ivan Neville filled a guest spot and sang "Jesus Children" which prompted
the inside temperature to rise by what felt like twenty degrees. This was a
precursor to a sizzling "Romantic" (Goapele) which, if this were another
dimension, would have set off fire alarms all over the spicy Mission
neighborhood. Drying off during set break proved pointless. Soulive came
back after the break and jammed until last call. They raged on their
apparently new, untitled song and pleased many with their rarely performed,
"Solid."

Satiated with musical nourishment sweat soaked groovers trickled out of the
bar and glistened into the night.

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