Standing out on the lawn at Churchill Downs Saturday, I stood waiting eagerly (ok, a bit impatiently if I'm honest) for the Reverend Al Green to begin. With the sun beating down and sweat pouring profusely it felt like being at a southern gospel revival, only without the portable pews and folding metal chairs. I had heard great things about seeing Al live, so I was determined to stick it out and swallow my impatience. I'm very glad that I did. Both he, and his back up singers, were decked out in their Sunday best. My mom is a member of the choir of her church, which is an all black Baptist church, so I know how important the whole dress code thing is. They were looking sharp and Al...let me say he does not perform like a man in his 60's. He was all energy and excitement. That man can sing and he can M.O.V.E.!
I won't list every song that he did because he really packed them it and they were all fantastic but here are a few: "Let's Get Married", "Stay With Me (By The Sea)" , "My Girl" and "You Are Everything". I had originally planned to stay for only part of his set but I couldn't leave. Between watching him woo the ladies by throwing red roses into the crowd, hearing his incredible voice and watching him get down on the stage I was riveted. I had only one other wish (aside from the one where my feet were magically encased in clouds of cotten and pain free. Oh, and the one where the heat was manageable) and that was that my parents could be there to hear this man. Were it not for them playing his music when I was a child, I doubt I'd have gotten as much pleasure from the afternoon as I did. You can never have enough church (well, you can, but...) so, if you get the chance to see Al Green perform live, do it.
Photo courtesy of Tarsha Stith