Toots & The Maytals came out with a bang, laying into the staple reggae classic Pressure Drop to start the evening and this crowd could not have been happier as Hibbert joyously sang out in his familiar baritone. It would be more of the same for the rest of the night as the band came together for tunes like Time Tough and a Funky Kingston that more than lived up to its name, providing an extended jam that left not a soul standing still. Toots improvised vocally on nearly every song, as his music lends itself so easily to, including classics Bam Bam and Reggae Got Soul and covers of Richard Berry’s Louie Louie and John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads. The set closed with Turn on Your Lovelight and Monkey Man and Toots snuck off stage while the band played on, only to be quickly ushered back on for a multi-song encore, highlighted by 54-46 Was My Number to close the night.
It is rare these days that we see someone who, at this age, still has all the soul, heart, and love to play music with such genuine passion. It radiated throughout the small room and it is doubtful that any single person did not feel it. He plays each and every song like it was written yesterday, but with such comfort and natural ability that you wonder if he even has to think about what he’s doing. It’s truly an experience worth witnessing, and if you haven’t seen a Toots & the Maytals show, get to one.