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Story and Photos by Matt SchwenkeThe last time G. Love and Special Sauce played in Milwaukee, the mercury was hovering around the 100 degree mark in an equally hot show at Summerfest. This time through the Midwest, on just the second show of the Philladelphians' 2008 tour in support of the new CD/DVD documentary release A Year and a Night with G. Love and Special Sauce, wind chills were creating sub-zero temperatures outside, but another smokin' hot live performance at the Rave kept everyone feeling warm and fuzzy before heading back out into the bitter cold.
Much of the two-set performance would feature the classic staples of a G. Love and Special Sauce show, but with Mark Boyce joining the trio on keys, even the familiar fan favorites took on a fresh feel, most notably in the jam-infused take on "Garbage Man" from the group's 1994 self-titled debut and "Holla!" from the 2006 release Lemonade. Other notables from the set included the unreleased "Superhero Brother," in which G. Love spouts about the state of the world (with Britney Spears, Jesus and the whole cast of Friends meeting for lunch to save the world's problems), and "Shooting Hoops," the catchy tribute to some of the East Coast's best ballers.
Adding another dimension to the show, G. Love (aka Garrett Dutton III) started the second set solo and more than paid his blues dues with convincing takes on Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues" and Elmore James' "Dust My Broom." Before bringing the rest of the band back on stage, G. Love would connect with his Wisconsin fans by giving a shout out to Brett Favre and would calm some negativity after announcing his bandmates were Patriots fans. With Jimi "Jazz" Prescott back behind the upright and Jeffrey "Houseman" Clemens back behind the drum kit with microphone, G. Love and company lit up the crowd with the classic "Cold Beverage," stirred up some mean harp playing on "Wiggle Worm" and nearly brought the house down with the night-ending "Can't Go Back to Jersey." Though the performance lacked some of the new material the band has been talking about on-line, G. Love and Special Sauce played their back catalogue with such intensity that it really didn't matter.
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