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Live Reviews

Playing for Change at the Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA

By Published: January 3, 2010
Elliot was no less stunning on stage with the Playing for Change band; in fact, he was one of the stars on the band's video Stand By Me. On this evening he took several parts of that tune as well as duets in "Change is Gonna Come" and "Bring it on Home to Me," in addition to originals such as "When You Got Heartache" and a catchy Calypso number "Sugar Is Sweet." His ever-present comical, sweet face, beautiful voicings, and exquisite harmonica playing had everyone talking about what a talented musician he is and many wondering how he had not been discovered earlier in his career. But as Elliot himself said in a Playing for Change video, "New Orleans is my home and it would take a bulldozer to pry me out." Many were happy that he at least left for the tour so they could have the pleasure of hearing his talent.

When the audience called for an encore, the band obliged with a Michael Jackson tribute involving the whole band in an exciting ending to the concert that included Bekker belting out and moon-dancing to "Billie Jean" and other tunes made popular by the late pop icon. As the band departed the stage, Grandpa Elliot was noticeably, and purposely, left at his seat. Looking a bit lost as if his guide that helped him through the night did not come for him, he gave a shrug and began singing "Amazing Grace" a cappella as he has done almost daily in the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was a great ending to a great show. This was a feel- good night as the band played, swayed, danced, and brought everyone into its culture as the tour and the musicians intended, bringing understanding and peace through music.

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