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Amos Lee at Celebrate Brooklyn

Ernest Barteldes By
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Amos Lee
Celebrate Brooklyn, Prospect Park
Brooklyn, NY
June 20, 2014

After a high energy opening set by Brooklyn-based Lake Street Dive, Philadelphia native and singer/songwriter Amos Lee took to the stage with a five-piece band that included two multi-instrumentalists who took turns on guitars, horns and mandolins. The group kicked off with "Windows Rolled Down," a funk-driven tune that was well received by fans who completely filled the concert space. He followed that with the Gospel-tinged "Jesus," a long tour de force that showcased both the group's vocal harmonies and their individual instrumental abilities.

Halfway through the set, the band left the stage and Lee was left alone, strumming his acoustic guitar for quite a few numbers. Many audience members sang along with him. One of the highlights of the set included a folk-tinged take on Brian May's "Fat Bottomed Girls" (a hit for British band Queen on their 1978 album Jazz (Island/Universal), which in fact had nothing to do with the genre) that was blended with a Zydeco rendition of Beyonce's "Single Ladies," led by his bass player. He mixed things up including songs with a country feel and then shifted to more of an R&B feel.

Lee and his band have great chemistry together, and that is translated in songs—his set in Brooklyn lasted for more than two hours (an anomaly for outdoor events like these, where organizers keep the clock in control—on one occasion years ago in Central Park, Brazilian rock band Skank tried to do a second encore and the sound system was shut down, leaving them to just clap their hands to the audience), and the band members sounded comfortable with all the different instruments they played.

Lee is also a high energy performer, and kept things going to the very end, when he returned to the stage for the soulful "Arms of a Woman," finally closing with "Lovely Day," leaving the stage with a standing ovation.

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