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Al Green at Tulalip Casino - 'Age is but a number'
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Al Green at Tulalip Casino - 'Age is but a number'

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Al Green
August 27
Tulalip Casino Resort


How old is Al Green? Judging from his performance at Tulalip Casino Resort last week, I'd say 25 going on 20. The iconic soul figure sang, danced, shouted, and hit those high notes with the greatest of ease, proving that age is nothing but a number.

The nine-time Grammy winner entered the stage through a cloud of smoke, and immediately began throwing red roses out to the front rows. Dressed in a sharp tux, silver vest, polished shoes, and white gloves, he opened his set with "L-O-V-E (Love)" as the tightly-packed amphitheatre leapt to their feet, and would remain standing throughout the entire performance. Green yelled, "Seattle, Tacoma, Seattle, Tacoma!" probably because he was a little confused as to where he was, seeing that the casino is a relatively new venue to both the acclaimed legend and Northwest concertgoers, located about 35 minutes north of the Emerald City.

Green continued with "Let's Get Married," blowing kisses out to the crowd, even to guests standing in the VIP tent at the rear section of the lot. The concert quickly became a party zone with people dancing in front of their seats, arms raised high, and some who found more wiggle room (literally) behind the last rows of folded chairs.

"Lay It Down," the title track from the R&B star's 2008 album, was slick perfection - a three-member brass unit glossed over Green's suave vocals, and those of his four backup singers, as they belted out the chorus, "Lay it down, lay it low, fall in love."

"Here I Am (Come and Take Me)" sounded cool and fresh, surviving 36 years as a classic that's been covered by everyone from UB40 to Etta James to Seal. But this was the master behind the original, and no one can do it like him. A pair of tall, fit male dancers on either side of Green assisted in keeping the momentum high throughout the show. In total, Green's ensemble of band members and stage extras reached into the double digits.

A medley that included snippets of "My Girl" and "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch" was sweet, but my feeling on medleys is that they soak up precious minutes that can be devoted to another full-length song.

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," made famous by the Bee Gees and re-touched by the Rev. Green, was sentimental right down to its core lyrics. Near the back portion of the amphitheatre, couples held each other closely or rocked gently cheek to cheek as a light chill descended on the casino grounds.

In contrast to the Jonny Lang concert two months ago at the same venue, the crowd gathered here was much more involved and far better outfitted - many came dressed in tailored suits and cocktail dresses, making a special occasion of it. This was also a noticeably larger audience than the Lang concert, practically filling the outdoor space that sits right off I-5.

There was a lot of energy and movement coming from the stage - not that I expected Green to just sit on a stool and sing, but I didn't think he'd be as active as he was this late in his career. He was all over the place, and very interactive with the fans. He was jubilant and relaxed as well, so it made the setting much more comfortable to let it all hang out, which many around me did.

Green gave us something from the vault when he glided into a silky, smooth rendition of his signature hit, "Let's Stay Together." Here was this music icon 100 feet away from me singing one of the most cherished love songs under a dim sky, and the only thing to do was to take it all in - priceless, absolutely. No encore was given, a slight disappointment from an artist with a catalog that extends past four decades. That aside, this was a smoking performance from a living legend.

There are those who might say Al Green is past his prime, that he's had better days and it would've been amazing to see him way back when. I've got four words for you: he's still got it!

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