Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton
UCD Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Jackson Hall
February 14, 2016
Grammy winner Lisa Fischer
& Grand Baton
put on a superlative show at the Mondavi Center For The Performing Arts located on the beautiful University of California campus in Davis CA. Grand Baton featured: musical director JC Maillard
, guitar and keyboards, bassist Aidan Carroll
, and drummer Thierry Arpino
. Fischer's wide ranging set covered music from several artists including Led Zeppelin
, the Rolling Stones
, Eric Bibb
, Amy Grant
, Railroad Earth and more.
This was Fischer and GB's first appearance at the spacious venue just twenty minutes west of Sacramento. UCD's Mondavi Center opened in early October 2002 and serves as a major venue for various local and world-renowned musical concerts, theater, dance, lectures and other entertainment. The architectural gem in sandstone had a tall façade that featured a massive clear glass lobby. MCPA consisted of two venues: the 1,800 seat Jackson Hall, and the smaller 250 seat Vanderhoef Studio Theatre. Jenna Bell, artist services manager, lead the center's friendly and accommodating staff.
The brilliant vocalist opened the Valentines Day evening concert in Jackson Hall with Grant's "Breath Of Heaven," Bibb's "Drag," Earth's "Bird In A House" and Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll." After performing her soothing Grammy winner "How Can I Ease The Pain" from "So Intense" (Elektra 1991), she ventured into the Sunday night audience and serenaded people in their seats. She stopped to ask one patron where he was from and he proudly replied, "The UK" (United Kingdom). For the next song "Waiting," Arpino's accompanying drum solo was spectacular. A very young fan sitting next to me with his mother had been singing along with Fischer almost word for word. When she started singing the Peggy Lee
standard "Fever," his mother said he was, "going to like this one" and he definitely did. During the tantalizingly sensuous song, Arpino provided hand clapping with the captivated listeners joining in. Maillard added an inspired flamenco flavored guitar solo.
Fischer, one of the stars from the 2014 Academy Award winning documentary film "Twenty Feet From Stardom," said, "You are doing good. Hope you recognize the arrangement by the time we derange it," referring to her version of the Stones staple, "Jumping Jack Flash." Maillard contributed an extended Middle Eastern tinged solo to the song. While returning to the stage, she nearly stumbled on the stairs. Fischer, a Sagittarius, commented she was starting to believe in the astrological signs as she glided to center stage.
On the wrenching "Last Goodbye" the versatile artist sang about breaking up and surviving the pain and loss. The set went a little overtime but it was "OK" and she confidently went into the Stones classic "Fade Away."
This was audience participation time, and Fischer had the ladies singing "love" repeatedly and the men saying it too. "Come on guys" she encouraged. Someone yelled, "I love you" and this elicited a ringing crowd response. She hugged her bassist and proclaimed she enjoyed playing with all the members of Grand Baton.
Fischer and her band left the stage to ear ringing applause and came back for one more song. She gave the hall a choice, a fast or slow one. The overwhelming choice was for fast and Linda Fischer & Grand Baton dove into Robert Palmer
's rocking "Addicted To Love" to close the invigorating concert.
Just after the striking set, Fischer was very gracious with her time and talked to many friends including Tim and Lisa, and some young children. One of the elated kids was the rambunctious singing neighbor from the show. She encouraged the youngster to sing and gave him and the other children supportive hugs. Lisa Fischer summed up the enchanting evening with, "We love what we do and are so thankful for the opportunity." Her holiday sentiment glowed brightly with the spirited house that night.