A couple of Sundays ago, the forecast called for rain most of the day. That forecast was pretty much correct except for when it stopped raining around 6:00 pm. Luckily for me, and for the rest of Pittsburgh, that was just enough time for the skies to dry up, for the sun to peak through, and for organist Booker T. Jones to take the stage at Hartwood Acres for his Stax Soul Revue. I had just about ruled it out but when the rain stopped I knew I had to drive out there. It’s Booker freakin’ T!
When my daughter and I pulled into to large grassy parking area, I thought for a minute that the show had been cancelled. There were WAY less cars than I am used to seeing at free summer shows at Hartwood. I assumed this was due to the weather. But no complaints here. Even though the start time was pushed back a half an hour or so, a trio came out in front of a relatively small crowd and went right into the intro groove of Booker T’s 1968 hit (w/ the MG’s) “Hang ‘Em High“, before introducing him out to the stage to enthusiastic applause. Throughout the hit-filled set that included several MG’s tunes, Otis Redding songs and many more, this group was joined by horns and vocalists at various points. Eventually Booker T even walked out from behind his organ to pick up a guitar for songs like The Beatles‘ “Don’t Let Me Down” and a take on Prince‘s “Purple Rain”.
As is the norm for a free show at Hartwood Acres, we had a great time. The small crowd allowed for plenty of space for kid stuff like kicking a beach ball, dancing, and just being silly and having fun. The band sounded great banging out one hit after another and with someone who is Booker T’s age, you never know when they are going to hang it up for good. This was my second time seeing him perform and it would be really nice if it wasn’t the last.