So many singers who made their name in the 60s are now in their 60s and their voices sound like they’re running low on power. Blood, Sweat & Tears frontman David Clayton-Thomas is not one of those singers.
During a wonderful concert with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra at Centrepointe Theatre on Friday, the 68-year-old classic-rock legend demonstrated his superior vocal ability on a selection of songs that spanned more than 40 years.
Whether he was booming around the bottom end or hitting on the high notes, Clayton-Thomas was in peak form, his voice carrying all the soul and grit of his early days.
In addition to the quality of his singing, Clayton-Thomas was a charismatic master of ceremonies who told stories and shared anecdotes with the rapt audience. He talked about hitchhiking from Toronto to New York City in the 1960s, for example, with nothing but a guitar and a song that would change his life.
The song, of course, was Spinning Wheel, a monster hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears. On stage Friday, it was a highlight of the first set, punchy and powerful, complete with a psychedelic guitar solo, superhuman blast of trumpet and the neat little flute break performed by orchestra musicians.
Clayton-Thomas’ more recent tunes fit well with the tone of the evening, helping to give a greater sense of musical purpose. By including songs like Morning Blues, a personal song about being 65 and single, and the lovely title track from his recent solo project, The Evergreens, the concert transcended the level of a classic-rock nostalgia fest.
It was a window into the creative soul of one of the most influential voices of the baby-boomer generation. And what a treat to experience it in a comfortable venue with outstanding musicianship and terrific sound.
Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen
April 17, 2010