I last saw Omar in the intimate setting of south London’s Hideaway club a couple of years ago. The world was a lot different then, we just didn’t know it. And as we can’t see live music in person right now – last night it was the dial up option. The concert was free to view with participants encouraged to pay a donation for the performance.
The mix of sound wasn’t all it could be initially, but then you also have to factor in that you’re listening through laptop speakers. No matter. It’s just such a joy to hear some old school RnB, with the soundtrack punctuated by the squelchy funk of Omar’s signature Nord solos throughout.
Is this the future of the live concert experience? We hope not obviously, but it does have some benefits, or should that be home comforts? I feel so mellow about 20 minutes in that I take the laptop upstairs and watch most of the show in bed. Even so I’d still prefer to be there in person with a cold drink in my hand.
Either way it beats watching another Premier League football game in an empty stadium, that’s for sure.
Having been in Ronnie Scott’s on many a memorable evening, there’s often nothing like it in terms of atmosphere. The cabaret set-up, the table service drinks and excellent sound, not to mention the late night jazz show for the brave souls.
Admittedly the purists will tell you that the original charm of this Soho club has been lost in recent years, as spontaneity was replaced with time slots being allocated for early and late shows in a bid to churn audience members and generate income.
But tonight I’m just happy to see a band on the famous 60-year old stage once more, and Omar’s band just radiate a warmth that I can almost feel through my screen.
I say almost because it’s small and 2D, but I’ll take it, especially when we’re treated to tunes like his own Sing if you want it, Music and covers like William DeVaughn’s Be Thankful For What You Got.
The good time vibe continues with a take on Roy Ayers’ Everybody Loves The Sunshine.
He introduces his breakout hit There’s Nothing Like This by saying, “this next song is 31 years old”, but it still sounds classic even with tweaks to the extended arrangement.
It does feel like a proper gig when the band all take a solo on the closer F*** War Make Love. And as I bliss out to some electric guitar and bass runs, it makes me realise just how much I’ve missed the live experience.
Thanks to Ronnie Scott’s jazz club, and to Omar and his band.