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Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald proved to be a dynamic duo Saturday night.

Michael McDonald kicked off the evening with the sun beating directly down on him as he sat center stage with his keyboard.  Despite the heat, Mr. McDonald delivered a 14-song. 65-minute fast paced set.  After the third song, Mr. McDonald said he better introduce the band and 2 female back-up singers before he got "heat stroke" (the band pulled double duty, supporting Boz Scaggs as well.)  From my seat, I was only able to see the back-up singers and Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs, so I will take Mr. McDonald's word for it that the band was made up of "middle-aged ugliness" - although I couldn't see them, the band sounded good on guitar, drums, bass, keys, Hammond B-3 organ, and sax.  Mr. McDonald started out strong with Doobie Brothers classics You Belong to Me and It Keeps You Runnin'.  He recorded three albums for Motown and sang soulful versions of I Made It Through the Grapevine, Aint No Mountain High Enough and Living in the City.  From his solo work he reached back for I Keep Forgettin', Sweet Freedom and Yah Mo B There.  During Minute by Minute a train roared by and Mr. McDonald said that was probably a comment from the Doobie Brothers management.  This segment of the show ended, as it began, with another Doobie Brothers song What A Fool Believes.

After a brief 20-minute intermission, Boz Scaggs just casually walked on to the stage with his guitar for a 70-minute set of a dozen songs.  I felt transported back to my teen age years, listening to my 45 rpm records in the mid to late 1970s.  These were not the AM radio versions of the songs.  They sounded very true to the original recordings, only without the scratches and skips you'd often hear on a well worn vinyl record.  It amazed me that I still knew almost all the lyrics.  The setlist was a collection of Boz Scagg's greatest hits from the past 35 years: Jojo, Some Change, Lowdown, Breakdown Dead Ahead, Miss Sun, Look What You've Done to Me (a song that would be a must have on my MP3 player if ever I found myself stranded on a deserted island), Georgia and Lido Shuffle. One of the talented back up singers, Ms. Mone't, did an extended spirited version of Bonnie Raitt's Something to Talk About in the middle of the set.

Within 5-minutes, a keyboard was added to the stage and Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs returned to perform a 5-song encore that extended the concert to nearly 3-hours:  Hallelujah, Drowning in the Sea of Love, Ces't La Vie (Chuck Berry) and It's Alright with Mr. McDonald on accordion, and the final song of the night was Takin' it to the Streets.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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The opening act is the entertainer who performs at a show before the featured entertainer. The opening act's performance serves to "warm up" the audience. The opening act will usually be an up-and-coming performer with a much smaller following than the featured artist.

I attended two shows recently, based upon the opening act.

Sunday night, Luke Brindley was the opening act for Willy Porter. Brindley is a Washington, DC based singer-songwriter, who was making his 3rd visit to Pittsburgh in a span of about 7 months.  He immediately grabbed our attention by playing an instrumental.  During his set he tried out some new material (for a yet un-named "fan funded" CD) along with older material like "Wrecking Ball" and another instrumental "Dervish"; as he alternated playing  his two guitars.

The Willy Porter show was re-scheduled from November (Porter cancelled then due to illness).  I was mesmerized the entire evening by Porter's finger-style guitar playing.   He told stories in a humorous style, took requests, and got us to sing-along.  Brindley did join Porter on a song.

Tuesday night 21-year-old Seth Glier was the opening act for Maia Sharp.  He plays the keyboards and guitar.  He writes his own songs. In this reality TV make a star overnight world, it's refreshing to see a young singer-songwriter doing it the old fashioned way with mature lyrics and a stage presence way beyond his years.  Glier began his short set singing a cappella, showcasing his amazing voice.  Glier also told stories about living with his parents and 99-year-old grandmother in a small town in MA and how it has influenced his writing. Ryan Hommel joined Glier on stage playing guitar and backing vocals.

Maia Sharp immediately caught my attention by doing a new song ("Sorry") that I had just heard her frequent co-writing partner Edwin McCain sing at his recent show in Cleveland.  Sharp also thanked WYEP for their support (applause applause).  She sang quite a few songs from her most recent CD "Echo" with Linda Taylor on electric guitar and backing vocals.  Sharp not only played the guitar, but keyboards and saxophone as well.  She shared songs and stories that she wrote that were sung by Bonnie Raitt and The Dixie Chicks.  Sharp also brought up on stage local singer-songwriter Bill Deasy to sing "Say Anything".  Deasy was aided by a lyric sheet to sing with his long-time friend. Sharp expressed her gratitude for all the fan support over the years and truly seemed to enjoy playing in Pittsburgh.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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