If you’ve seen Lee Fields play live, you already know there’s not much more you need to say beyond that one word, because this show could change your life.
Lee Fields and his band, The Expressions played Red 7 on Saturday night as part of Fun Fest’s Nites series. After an intro from the band that could’ve come right out of a vintage Hollywood caper, came the man himself. He wore a beautiful plaid suit coat over a red shirt, a gold cross and sunglasses. In full possession of his own style.
Fields is electricity, constantly connecting with the crowd, asking questions, dispensing life advice, singing with the girls who walk on stage to dance with the man. The topics are timeless: lyin’, cheatin’ and heartbreak. “I LOVE YOU!” Fields’ soulful voice screamed out time and time again.
And the second he took the stage they loved him back. His intensity, his raspy, pitch perfect voice. He did it all, for soulful pleaders and love ballads. Next thing you knew, it looked like a high school dance in there.
“I’ve seen the most righteous man do the most horrible things for a hundred dollar bill,” Fields said at one point. No doubt he’s seen a lot in this life. He’s been compared to James Brown, and that’s fair, but he’s also twenty years younger — and with a touch of Sam Cooke thrown in too. But the second Fields takes the stage, the show is beyond comparison — you’re too emotionally engaged, too satisfied.
Fields is another success story from the recent Soul
revival that centers on the New York label Daptone, with stars like Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. Fields latest record came out on another label, Truth and Soul, but the effect feels similarly charged. Like Bradley, Fields is backed up with a full band of young white dudes, but for my money, The Expressions seemed a little tighter — more seasoned.
“Let me tell you something,” Fields said, before a song about fighting for survival, “ Ain’t nuthin’ changed!” No doubt, the showstoppers were the killer, “Wish You Were Here,” which Fields dedicated to his father (“What a song!” a guy behind me hollered out when it finally landed back to Earth), and “Faithful Man,” the title track from their 2012 album. “I’ve always been a faithful man — ‘till you came along,” he wailed.
When it was all coming to an end, the applause came rolling. Fields just opened his arms wide and took it all in.