Cleveland was lucky this weekend, as it was one of only a handful of cities fortunate enough to have Booker T. Jones and his band perform in support of his latest CD, The Road From Memphis. I found the album so satisfying, I made sure every one of the Rock Hall's board members received a copy at our retreat this summer in New Orleans. I felt privileged for the opportunity to experience it live. And if that wasn't enough, it was Booker T. Jones' birthday to boot.
On November 12, Booker T. and his group played two incredible shows at Cleveland's famous jazz club, Nighttown, where owner Brendan Ring consistently books a vast array of stars, helping the cozy club garner a host of international accolades and a reputation as a destination spot for artists. Booker T.'s two performances – at 8 pm and 10 pm – were a great addition to that legacy.
The setlist for the night featured an exciting mix of material from not only Road From Memphis, but also his catalog of chart-topping and indelible hits, including "Green Onions," "Soul Limbo," "Hip Hugger" and "Time is Tight." The crowd was visibly moved, grooving and captivated, hanging on Booker T.'s stories behind songs and seminal recordings, including his role in a number of Albert King records.
Earlier in the weekend, Booker T., his wife and manager "Nan," and members of his band toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – and the experience left an impression. In between songs and tales from his illustrious career, Booker T. spoke eloquently about his visit to the Museum. The 1992 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee noted how beautiful and iconic the I.M. Pei building was, comparing it to other world landmarks, such as the Sydney Opera House. For us at the Museum, it just doesn't get much better.
WATCH: Booker T. Jones - "Everything Is Everything" (from The Road From Memphis)