LOS ANGELES, CA (News4usonline) – It’s always a special treat going to see Maze featuring Frankie Beverly live in concert. I have been fortunate enough to see the “Silky Soul” group three times, and I feel like I’ve cheated myself out of seeing one of the best bands around on a more routine dial. I should consider myself lucky.
There were quite of few folks attending the Maze-headliner concert at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Saturday that had never seen Maze of Beverly in person before. When Beverly, the iconic frontman for Maze, stopped midway of the group’s performance to ask if this was the first time for members of the audience seeing the band, more than half of the crowd raised their hands in unison.
Now that was a sight to see. And quite a surprise. That’s almost catastrophic. Beverly, in his legendary raspy, baritone voice, let them know about it, too.
“That’s a shame,” Beverly quipped humbly.
He’s right. It is a shame given the fact that Beverly started the group back in 1970 in Philadelphia. Back then the band was known as Raw Soul, which they later changed at the suggestion of legendary crooner Marvin Gaye. Raw Soul became Maze in 1977, and from there they have built a cult following of soul music aficionados and fans worldwide.
Amazingly, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, recorded just eight studio albums, two live albums, and five other compilation albums. But when you’re putting out great songs that resonate timelessly like Golden Time of Day, Joy and Pain, We Are One, Can’t Get Over You, Southern Girl, The Morning After, Happy Feelin’s, and Running Away, well there’s not too much more to do to top top those string of hits.
Performing an hour and a half concert as they did at the Greek Theatre is simply not enough time to fully appreciate the kind of music that Maze featuring Frankie Beverly brings to you. That’s atypical of a fan. We’re greedy. We always want more. But what was given to us was a whole better than a handout sheet and a bootleg CD.
There is not another group on the planet that brings you the soulful sensation of love songs, community unity and togetherness in their music the way that Maze featuring Frankie Beverly does. There’s no present or coming up groups that can match the tranquil sound and peaceful vibe of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. That’s just the truth.
When I think of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, their music puts me in a chill mood every time I hit my Spotify playlist. Seeing them live makes it even better. I would add this caveat, however. If you’re planning to see Maze featuring Frankie Beverly in concert, don’t go by yourself. I would advise that you do not do that to yourself. It’s not that kind of party.
There’s something about their music that makes you want to cuddle up to someone and have a great time relishing the moment. Yes, there was a lot of that going on at the Greek Theatre as Maze featuring Frankie Beverly unleashed a torrent of some of their most memorable songs that had the audience standing, grooving and singing along.
The atmosphere was both festive and joyous the whole way through, a tone that is heavily reflective of the group’s musical sound. When Beverly and Maze jumped right in on the unity anthem We Are One, you could see and feel the unison coming from the entire crowd as everyone stood up and collectively held up their hands in solidarity.
That moment during the concert was about as powerful a display of connectedness between an audience and a performer as one can find. Then again, the entire musical depository produced by Maze and Beverly has that kind of effect. As the group moved into its uptempo swing with the rhythmic Joy and Pain near the end of the show, the whole place was bumping. In a good way.
As much of a fun song Joy and Pain is, when Maze and Beverly broke into their slowdown stuff with ballads such as Golden Time of Day and Can’t Get Over You, that sent people into a warm and fuzzy frenzy. It is these types of songs that Maze featuring Frankie Beverly have built their musical reputations on and have stacked up a devoted following.
At 72, Beverly, who announced that he will turn 73 in December, sounds about as good as he always has. The same could be said about soul songbird Regina Belle. Belle, who preceded Maze featuring Frankie Beverly on stage, put some movement into the crowd with her Rock Steady tribute to the late soul singer Aretha Franklin.
Known for her hits Show Me the Way, Baby, Come to Me, Make It Like It Was, All I Want is Forever, and A Whole New World, Belle sang powerfully during her abbreviated set without the services of backup singers or a live band on hand. For the most part, Belle just reared back and unleashed that powerful voice that God gave her.
The fact that Belle is even performing is a miracle in itself. Belle reportedly has managed to survive a brain tumor scare (2009) and other health-related issues, and so when she sang If I Could, another one of her big hits, it felt like an emotional plea tugging at people’s heartstrings. Belle was successful in delivering that plug because looking around there were a lot of moist eyes in the building.
Dennis is editor and publisher of News4usonline. A news and sports reporter, Dennis has written about civil rights, education, government, crime, and social justice. Dennis covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. He is a graduate of Howard University. HU!!