Last night the Guitar Storage staff too a roadtrip to NYC to see a truly memorable and stirring show highlighting the career of one of the greatest guitar giants of the last 50 years, Mike Bloomfield. Al Kooper and Jimmy Vivino put on a masterful tribute to their friend and musical inspiration.
The concert was held at the Highline Ballroom in the Meatpacking district of NYC and proved to be a great venue. We had front row seats, the sound was great, and the place was packed with Bloomfield, Kooper and Vivino) devotees making for a lot of love between the performers and the crowd.
We were happy to see Al Kooper sounding so strong vocally and his keyboard and Hammond B3 playing was better than ever. Hearing that signature riff from Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” sent chills down our spines during a stirring finale with the audience joining in for a rousing “How does it feel” chant.
Jimmy Vivino was something else. He absolutely channeled Mike Bloomfield. Jimmy played Bloomfield’s signature Les Paul guitar and Jimmy clearly mastered just about every nuance and tone you’ve ever heard Mike Bloomfield do both on record and off. And that could have been no easy task. He tackled some of the most difficult licks with flair in songs like; “Albert’s Shuffle”, “Goin Down Slow” and even the obscure “His Holy Modal Majesty”. They spanned Bloomfield’s whole career from The Butterfield Blues Band through the Electric Flag a lot of coverage of the Highway 61 Revisited Dylan Sessions where Bloomfield and Kooper met. Jimmy brought out his Danelectro guitar (set up for slide) and ripped through a spirited Highway 61.They also paid tribute to a lot of the recently fallen musicians who they both loved and played with. The did a cover of Green Onions in memory of Donald Duck Dunn. Al claims it’s the greatest organ lick of all time. They covered Killing Floor in honor of Hubert Sumlin. And the covered The Weight in honor of Levon Helm.Most of those songs were also originally covered by Bloomfield/Kooper.
A real surprise was having John Sebastian come on stage and play. He played harp mostly, blowing a mean Paul Butterfield- esque “Born in Chicago”.
We also go the chance to meet Larry Milburn, Mike Bloomfield’s cousin who was there shooting for a documentary on Mike that he’s dedicated to putting out in the near future. Aside from putting some great concert footage up there (hopefully from this show) Mike’s talents and contribution to music should be given as much voice as possible. Check Larry’s website (Milburn Media Arts) for updates on the release of the Bloomfield documentary. We (Guitar Storage) will try and post a notice if we find out about it here on our blog or on the GuitarStorage.com Facebook Page or Twitter account.
We really want to thank Jimmy Vivino for bringing Mike Bloomfield’s guitar playing to life and in effect, bringing Bloomfield back too. It’s clear that there is not a moment during Jimmy’s outstanding guitar playing when he is thinking about himself or feeding his own ego (which he certainly could). His joy seems to be giving life to this music. Thanks Jimmy! Hopefully now another generation will get inspired by Mike because of your talent and love for his music.
Below is a sample video from the concert. Checkout the GuitarStorage.com Youtube Channel for footage.