Show Review – James Brown Tribute Show 12/22/07


Madison Theater, Covington, KY
photos and review by Scott Preston

What can I say about an evening that blew all my expectations out of the water. The night began with a hollywood style red carpet event with most of the artists exiting a large bus and entering the Madison Theater.
The night was filled with so much funk, I know James Brown would have been proud. There was a special video message from Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory declaring December 22, 2007 James Brown Day in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Councilman John Cranley was also on hand to offically announce the formation of the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation.

“The mission of the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation serves to elevate the region’s rich music heritage and the contributions of the past, present, and future music community through preservation, education and celebration.” – Elliott Ruther, Foundation member.
The night started off with host/comedian Michael Colyar welcoming everybody to the Madison and introducing the first act Triage. They were followed by Bootzilla artists, I-Candi, whose lead vocalist Ms Candice happens to have one of the smoothest voices I have heard in a long time. She was later joined on stage by her brothers, Miguel and Keith Cheatham Jr. Freekbass really turned up the funk with their version of James Brown’s song “Cold Sweat”. Freekbass was joined on stage by Marvin Curry Jr. & The Seventh Trump Horns.
One of the nicest surprises of the evening was seeing hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa perform. Witnessing Buckethead perform was like seeing Jimi Hendrix. Buckethead also played Santa Claus by handing out toys to the crowd. The Bobby Byrd Band took the stage with his wife Vicky Anderson handling the vocals. Bobby Byrd has often been credited with discovering James Brown. He was the original leader and founder of The Famous Flames, the vocal group with which James Brown first became famous. There was a very touching video in honor of Bobby Byrd, who unfortunately passed away on Sept 12, 2007 of cancer.
Then The Soul Generals took the stage led by Daryl Brown (James Browns son). Just when I thought it wouldn’t get any better it did. Venisha Brown (James Browns daughter) joined her brother and The Soul Generals on stage for the rest of their set. Not only does she look like her father, but dances and sings just like him.
The night was capped off with the Original JB’s (James Browns backup band) taking the stage. Members include Bootsy Collins, Catfish Collins, Clyde Stubblefield, John “Jabo” Starks and on lead vocals was Tony Wilson, whose vocals and dance moves would have made James Brown proud. After a few songs Venisha Brown (James Browns daughter) came out on stage. Slowly one by one every artist that had performed made their way out on stage to honor the Godfather of Soul and Funk.

The evening ended with Bootsy Collins coming out to the front of stage to thank everybody for being there and telling them to make sure to keep James Browns legacy alive. He also said this is the first year of the James Brown Tribute show. The show by the way sold out and 250 – 300 people had to be turned away. Which in my opinion means this show will only get bigger and better.

Photos from the evening, including photos of all the performers, presenters can be found here

There are also many video clips starting to pop up on, I have compiled a list of what I have found so far:
James Brown Concert: A.B. Dancing
James Brown Concert: A.B. Thank You
James Brown Tribute Concert: Africa Bambatta II
James Brown Tribute Concert:ChuckD
James Brown Tribute Concert: Cincinnat James Brown Day
James Brown Tribute Concert:The Foundation
James Brown Tribute Concert: I-Candi
James Brown Tribute Concert: Freekbass
James Brown Tribute Concert: James Brown’s Daughter
James Brown Tribute Concert: Zion
James Brown Tribute Concert: Final Act
James Brown Tribute Concert: BucketHead