By Gary A. Johnson,
Publisher, Black Men In America.com
The last time I saw Larry Graham and Graham Central Station I was in High School. I saw him at the Capital Center in Landover, MD, just outside of Washington, D.C. I went to the show tonight expecting Mr. Graham to be FUNKY, but not this FUNKY. After all, he’s been around for over 40 years. I figured he may have lost a step, or developed a hitch in his “funk-get-along.”
Talk about being wrong. After last night’s show, 68-year old Larry Graham catapulted himself into my All Time Top 5 List of live performers. Before seeing Larry Graham last night my top 5 best live performers were:
- James Brown
- Earth, Wind & Fire
- The Jackson 5/Michael Jackson
- Brian Culbertson
After the Larry Graham experience last night, Brian Culbertson has been voted out of the Top 5 to the #6 slot with Larry Graham and Graham Central Station comfortably occupying the #5 slot.
Last night the show started with the band coming on stage from the right wing. The crowd was looking toward the stage chanting “Larry! Larry! Larry!” The crowd erupted in applause as Larry Graham came from the rear of the building walking through the audience playing his bass guitar as he made his way to the stage. Dressed in his signature all-white suit and a white hat topped off by a huge aqua blue feather, Graham also wore a floor length “Elvis-like” jacket. By now everyone was on their feet (including me and I hate standing at concerts). Graham walked by our table playing that bass guitar like the Pied Piper of Funk.
After about an hour into the show Graham told the crowd: “You better call the babysitter and tell them you will be home late.” Dude played for 3 hours! Graham had 5 encores! (I guess he forgot that some of us had things to do the next morning).
Everyone who came on stage had an opportunity to play their instrument of choice or sing and the band members stepped aside, gave up their instrument for you and let you jam with the band. I almost ran on stage to sing Sly’s “If You Want Me To Stay.” I would have turned The Birchmere out!
After the show, Graham, the band, and his wife Tina of 40 years, came out and signed autographs, took pictures and mingled with the crowd until well after midnight. If you have a chance to re-live your youth, go see Larry Graham. I was exhausted after the show. I think I pulled a hamstring bouncing up and down to “1999” during the Prince medley of the show. It was that song or James Brown’s “I Got The Feeling.”
To learn more about Larry Graham visit his official website Larry Graham.com. Check out this classic video of Larry Graham with his buddy Prince.
Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”