I went to see Bernie Worrell & The WOO Warriors at Tramps in NYC (on Saturday 5/10/97). There were 2 opening acts before the Bernie Worrell set, A Tribe of Millions and Bigfoot.
The first act started at 9:35pm (35 minutes late) and was wonderful, with a drummer that played his ass off! According to someone who I talked to, A Tribe of Millions is a group that's currently working with Andre Cymone (a man who worked along with Prince back in the early days). The group is from Minneapolis and they are funky! They did an excellent rendition of Wendy & Lisa's "Blues Away" (from W&L self-titled album) and Ohio Players's "Fire" (HOT!!) They also performed a very nasty and sarcastic song ("She's a Lady" ?? -- something like that)....a song about a woman who is a "whore" and sits with her legs wide open, yet she's a lady! It was very hilarious and funky. [I gotta remember them when I go to the local record stores or if I search for CDs online!]. Anyway, that set lasted one hour. Interesting enough, halfway through that set, the guitar player began having trouble with the amp. The bass player and one of the sound engineers started to work out the problem, while the guitarist began singing a song a capella. Afterwards, the audience requested that the drummer perform a solo.....and he had no problem with that! The drummer did a two-minute solo while the amp problem was being resolved.
The second act started at 10:45pm and lasted one hour. The only thing I remembered clearly from this set is the fine-looking female vocalist. She performed a couple of inspirational/gospel-influenced tunes which were very good. Personally, I thought that it was a bad idea to have an act like this perform just before Bernie Worrell's set! And why have so many opening acts before the main act??!! DAMN!!
There was a 20-minute break between the second act and the big one, "Bernie Worrell and the WOO Warriors". This was a bad night at Tramps because there were still some problems with the equipment. Suddenly........at 12:05am, the song "Tales of Kidd Funkadelic" began playing through the speakers, along with a "poetry" reading over the music, and the Wizard of WOO himself, Bernie Worrell, walked onstage and over to his set of keyboards! Everyone was screaming "WOO! WOO! WOO! WOO!!!!" He began playing some weird shit, before jumping into the song "Thank You (For Letting Me Be Myself)" [thanks to "firstname.lastname@example.org" for that info]. The WOO Warriors joined Bernie Worrell onstage and they jumped into the funk bomb "Red Hot Momma". Catherine Russell did the lead vocals on this song and she is superb! [and not at all bad-looking either!!] The background vocalists consist of her, Bernie, bassist Winston Roye, and keyboardist La Mar "Dr. Kronick" Mitchell.
The song list (One hour and 45 minutes of great, funky shit):
The fifteen-minute encore consisted of:
I really enjoyed the improvisation of Bernie, around the lyrics "You picket this and protest that, then eat yourself fat!" from the song "If You Don't Like The Effects, Don't Produce The Cause". During the song "Blood Secrets", I think Bernie mentioned that he was having trouble with the keyboard facing the crowd, but he would still perform. Then, one of the sound engineer walked over to check out the problem. Five minutes later or so, Bernie left the stage for a few minutes. About 6 or 7 minutes later, he reappeared and resumed jamming. Towards the end of the song "Can You Get To That?", he requested that the audience sing the lyrics "Can You Get.......I wanna know if you can get to that." over and over. [Funky psychedelia that you can smell!!] This was before the band went right into (what I consider the best track off of the FUNK OF AGES album by Bernie Worrell) "Y-Spy" (Bernie......you da man!!!!)
When Bernie left the stage at 1:40am.....people were chanting "WOO!" at the top of their lungs for 4 minutes before Bernie and the WOO Warriors came out for the encore. I thought that they were going to "Cosmic Slop" (OHHHH!!! A FANTASTIC DREAM COME TRUE!!) but they didn't (DAMN!!).....they performed "Up For The Down Stroke", followed by "Night of The Thumpasorus Peoples" (with the infectious chant). People were getting their groove on! Some real funky Parliament shit!
All in all, it was a great show.....I was there for 4 1/2 hours. Boy, was I worn out.......I slept for only 4 hours because I had to leave around 7:45am for Philly (my hometown)! I'll never forget this night....I was in NYC, grooving till the wee hours! (or should I say "the WOO hours!")
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