Diane Blue kicked off the show with a bang and it only went up from there. One of the first songs she played was “That’s a Pretty Good Love” from her new CD, Look for the Light. The first thing I noticed about the song was the Latin stylings. Drummer Steve Chaggaris has a great feel for the Latin groove, as does Dave Limina on the keys.
I loved their version of Nina Simone’s “Day and Night,” which is a terrific song on its own. I’m nearly convinced that Diane can sing anything. The harmonies in “Day and Night” were fantastic. Bass player Steve Monahan has an extremely deep voice and hearing his voice caught all the audience members off guard, including me. It reminded me a little bit of the guy with the really deep voice in the Temptations.
One of my favorites she played was a slow blues called “I Can’t Shake You,” one of Diane’s original songs. Diane’s singing is so soulful she almost sounded like she was crying. Diane Blue is part of that rare breed of singers that can make you feel their own pain, and she did that in “I Can’t Shake You.”
Guitarist Chris Vitarello delivered a terrific solo in “I Can’t Shake You.” Vitarello is an in-demand sideman in New England and a former member of the Bruce Katz Band. Not only is Vitarello’s playing technically terrific, but he also can make you feel something, much like Diane. That one of many reasons why he’s a perfect fit for her band. His phrasing is excellent and his solos are very tasteful.
One of the biggest highlights of the night was Diane’s cover of “When You Say Nothing At All.” She sings this song all the time to her 3-year-old granddaughter and dedicated the song to her. It was a beautiful performance that came straight from the heart. Diane got the audience so quiet you could’ve heard a needle drop.
I’ve always loved the song “Lord Protect My Child.” it is a beautiful song written by the great Bob Dylan. Diane did an excellent cover of it drawing a lot from Susan Tedeschi’s cover, which she mentioned on stage. You could tell how much that song meant to Diane when she sang it. It was a highlight of the night for me. It’s difficult to explain the emotion she made everyone feel when she sang “Lord Protect My Child.” It was simply flawless.
After “Lord Protect My Child,” Diane stepped off the stage for a few songs. Chris Vitarello took the lead on a song called “Walkin’ to my Baby.” This is the first time I’ve heard Chris sing lead, and he is an excellent singer in his own right. His vocals are very pure and soulful. Diane found a gem in this guy. He plays with his damn soul and captivates every room I’ve seen him in.
Diane shortly after came back to the stage for a great rendition of the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic “Bad Moon Rising.” Diane showed her versatility as a performer by going from “When You Say Nothing At All” to Bob Dylan to CCR.
The biggest highlight of the night was Diane’s outstanding rendition of “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Very few singers can pull off Aretha, especially this song. This was one of the best Aretha covers I’ve heard in a long time. Diane gave that song everything she had. That song was the only thing on her mind, and she poured her entire soul into it. Everybody in the crowd was already captivated up to that point but we were all transfixed when she sang Aretha.
She followed that with the show’s closer, “Same Old Blues” by JJ Cale. This was another one of my favorite songs of the evening. Diane Blue is a mean harp player as well as a singer. She is very energetic and puts a lot into her harp playing. Chris Vitarello gave one heck of a guitar solo as well in “Same Old Blues.”
Because the show was outstanding, the audience obviously demanded an encore. The encore was the up-tempo swing chart “Don’t Stop” that got the whole crowd dancing. This is the third time I’ve seen Diane and it won’t be the last. When she finishes her show, you are left wanting more no matter how many times you’ve seen her. Make sure you never miss an opportunity to see Diane Blue when she’s in town. One of the best voices in today’s blues scene.
*All photos by Greater Boston Music Reviews