Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Morris Day and the Time live (6/5/16)

Sunday (6/5) was day two for us at the Belle Isle Grand Prix here in Detroit. And the threat of inclement weather was not going to deter us (and hundreds more) from seeing the performance by Morris Day and the Time. And if you even had to guess, yes we had another great spot right at the stage rails. As you'll see below, we were so close we almost could have reached out and touched the stage.

The group's line-up has changed a bit over the years. While the Original 7ven had toured together after their 2011 album release Condensate, today only three of the original Time line-up was on the roster. Of course, there is Morris Day on lead vocals. Monte Moir still serves as one of the keyboardists. Behind the drum kit if Morris' childhood friend Jellybean Johnson.

Rounding out the roster are a new guitarist Tori "Freak Juice" Ruffin, bassist Ricky "Freeze" Smith, second keyboardist Jeff "J-Mack" McNeely, and valet "Brother Thomas".

The show opened with the band with their backs turned to the audience while a clock chimes and with each chime we get a classic song clip. The band breaks into the familiar melody of 1999. Freeze asked us "who here loves Prince?". We all cheer. Freeze then asked "who here loves the Time?" Again, more cheers. Then Morris took the stage and led into the rousing "Get It Up" which opened their self-titled 1981 debut album.

The band immediately got the audience involved with the call-and-answer of "Cool", the fourth track from that debut album. Along the way, we also got "The Stick" from that record.

Their second album, 1982's What Time Is It?, was also well represented with party favorites "Wild and Loose", "777-9311" and "The Walk". The one slow jam of the set also comes from that album - "Gigolos Get Lonely Too".

If you wonder if the band's signature stage elements were there, the answer is exactly what you'd expect. Morris had plenty of interplay with "Brother Thomas", much like he did back in the day with Jerome Benton. During many of the numbers, the various band members would join into choreographed dance bits. And, of course, every one of the guys was impeccably dressed in their suits. Time has not changed those aspects that make it a Time show.

Morris' solo career was represented in the show by his 1988 hit "Fishnet" and 1985 hit "The Oak Tree". We also got treated to "Jerk Out" from the Graffiti Bridge era album Pandemonium from 1990.

If you follow Morris on Facebook and Twitter, you know Morris has been posting a lot of pictures of his long-time friend Prince since the artist's passing April. To help pay tribute, he and the Time performed an energetic "D.M.S.R." from 1999 - and this received a rousing cheer from the crowd. It was also the point in the show when the rain clouds cleared away and the sun came shining on through. It was if someone up there was looking down on the show and wanted to make sure we all were partying like it was 1999. We're all still grieving, and it really helped to see Morris acknowledging his good friend in concert.

The main set ended with the Time's dance hit "The Bird". A whole bunch of lucky folks were brought on stage to dance behind the band, including a couple very elderly women who I am not sure were completely aware of what all was going on. Of course, all of us in the crowd were dancing too.

The encore number was the band's other big hit from the Purple Rain era - "Jungle Love". There is nothing like a crowd of hundreds of people on their feet responding to the call of "ooo-eee-ooo-eee-ooo".

Since the Time had broken up (the first time) when I saw Prince for the Purple Rain tour, I never had the chance back then to see them perform live before now. It was really great to be able to attend their show this weekend. While some of the names and faces have changed, it is still a fantastic show. If you get the chance, you should check them out.

For more from Morris Day and from the Time, click here and here respectively.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Looks and sounds like you guys had a good TIME!