Mid week show...no big deal right? Hey, its not the weekend, its a Tuesday night, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, sold out, 8,500 capacity. When I thought about this show beforehand...thats what I thought...no big deal...this night...I thought it was going to be just another gig....I was very very wrong indeed!
If you're unfamiliar with this band....Jamiroquai is a 7 piece funk band from the UK formed in 1991. Led by lead singer songwriter, Jay Kay. Changing players over the years a couple times, but always staying with a similar undefinable sound. They have been under many different genres including pop, disco, electronic, acid jazz and rock...They can sound like a happy Stevie Wonder, humanity loving like Michael Franti, and perhaps musical smatterings even of Prince. I think of Jamiroquai in a genre all their own, and I call it PURE JOY!
The band came onto the stage at around 9pm, no opener, and they played for about two hours. 17 songs in all, and ended with their massive hit, Virtual Insanity. In the entire venue, there was not more than a handful of people sitting during the whole show both GA and the balcony! I panned the venue visually and on foot, and I think I may have seen about six people in all sitting during the show. And all these people were not simply standing...they were dancing their arses off joyfully! People that didn't come together were dancing together, touching, talking, laughing and having a damn good time. 8500 strangers may have entered the venue, but I assure you none of us left that venue that night as strangers. We left that show with a shared experience...one of pure joy!
They originally got noticed worldwide with their third album, released in 1996, Travelling Without Moving. This album entered the Guinness Book of Records as the best selling funk album in history. They have received 13 Brit Award nominations and sold over 26 million albums internationally. Their music is high energy and the band seems to have as good a time onstage, as the people who come out to see their shows. The Jamiroquai sound has been described by Rolling Stone magazine as a live sound that glows...I would agree. Its hard to describe the feeling one gets at one of their shows...but one thing is for sure...it wasn't only me... by looking and walking around the entire venue that night I truly believe that the universal feeling of the highest form of euphoric joy. And talking to some of the people I met that night...it was felt by all who attended. A couple days post show, I spoke to someone I know that also went. He described his experience in the exact same way I had felt. It was great to have such a positive shared experience with him, and 8,499 other attendees that night...not to mention the entire body of security staff that was most obviously feeling it too. I've never been to a show, any show, that the entire security staff join in the dance of pure joy! The universal feeling of euphoria is what I will take from that night.
I have always liked the Jamiroquai sound...I've owned their first four albums, since the 90s and when they were at their peak, I was living in the UK, so I had much exposure to the sound of their music, in pubs, on radio, at parties etc...but it wasn't until this gig at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, that I have EVER felt such PURE JOY and sheer euphoria, at any concert or within any body of music ever.
I suggest, if you haven't heard the Jamiroquai sound, check out their 1996 Traveling Without Moving album with such hits as Virtual Insanity, and Cosmic Girl. And I would highly suggest even if you're not crazy about the music...go to a Jamiroquai show if you get the opportunity, and feel the joy. I would liken the feeling from that night to things in life such as sheer happiness, pure love, orgasm, tasting amazing foods, and playing music with others and in that special moment of 'getting in the groove'. Jamiroquai joy at a live show may feel a bit different to all of the above, because it is like nothing else I've experienced. That's why I cannot seem to find the words to describe it properly unless you've been to a show, you won't know exactly what I mean. But it has for sure, surpassed any form of entertainment for me, such as films, and even run of the mill or great live music. I am putting a live Jamiroquai show in a category all its own, just like their sound...it cannot fit into any one genre...its its own flavour and sound...and the highest, purest, form of joy I've ever felt, different to the effects of recreational drugs, sex or food! For me, this concert will absolutely fall into my top ten shows of all time!
The setlist that night consisted of:
Shake It On, Little L, The Kids, Space Cowboy, Alright, Cloud 9, Main Vein, Use the Force, Hey Floyd, Cosmic Girl, (Don't) Give Hate a Chance, Runaway, Travelling Without Moving, Seven Days in Sunny June, Canned Heat, Love Foolosophy, Encore: Virtual Insanity