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Tower of Power @ Tachi Palace Casino, Lemoore CA 01/19/17

I had always wanted to see funk masters Tower of Power. I’ve always admired their drummers, especially. David Garibaldi is one of the greatest groove masters out there, and his drum parts are funky as well as tricky. It’s still difficult for me to wrap my head around many of those grooves. Sadly, tragedy befell the group during their stand at Yoshi’s in Oakland. Garibaldi along with bassist Marc Van Wageningen were walking in Jack London Square near the venue when an Amtrak train struck them. They weren’t in the greatest shape, with Van Wageningen suffering the more serious injuries. I was unsure they would fulfill the Lemoore date. I contacted the venue and amazingly, they reported that the group’s management team provided an update via email that they would still go on, however it was unknown who the stand-ins would be on bass and drums. This touring line-up consisted of Marcus Scott, David Garibaldi, Roger Smith, Marc Van Wageningen, Jerry Cortez, Tom Politzer, Sal Cracchiolo, Adolfo Acosta, Doc Kupka and Emilio Castillo. I later learned that TOP alums Russ McKinnon and Rocco Prestia would fill in for the injured brothers.

I attended this show at the Tachi Palace in Lemoore, an Indian gaming casino in rural Kings County. Concert buddy ‘La Diane’ came along for the gig. The resort is like a gem in the middle of nowhere and it has significant pull when it comes to entertainment. Their bingo hall converts to a proper concert hall. I had my misgivings at first, as this was my first experience at the Tachi live venue and didn’t know what to expect. We had fairly good seats and the venue was appropriate and easily accessible.  The group was HOT. They were firing on all cylinders and having several original and veteran members present added a special authenticity to their performance. At one point during the Show, Emilio mentioned that when they first started the group they knew they had something special. He further elaborated that they did a gig in Fresno and the moment the horn players laid down their sultry parts, a big Mexican chick in the back went nuts. That’s when they knew they had something special 🙂 Marcus Scott on lead vox was a heck of a singer, powering through those TOP classics with conviction, reminiscent of the great Lenny Williams. Marcus even ventured into the crowd, stood on a chair and sang while surrounded by the audience in the center section. The crowd was loving it and we could feel the euphoric energy in the venue. My mom was a child of the 70s and although she wasn’t at the show, she hoped that they’d play some of her favorite TOP radio hits. I’d heard that TOP rarely if ever includes material like “So Very Hard to Go” and “You’re Still a Young Man” in the set, so I wasn’t expecting to hear anything like that. What do you know, last number of the night was “You’re Still a Young Man,”AKA that one song that makes all the sad cholos cry. The group turned out fiery and polished renditions of their songs. It was impressive to see a veteran group perform to that high level of excellence and with heart. The set for this evening was short by most standards but exciting. Fun and energetic concert and I feel very fortunate for catching TOP while they’re still around. Sorry mom, they didn’t play “Sparkling in the Sand”.

  1. I Like Your Style
  2. Ain’t Nothin’ Stoppin’ Us Now
  3. You Ought To Be Havin’ Fun
  4. Only So Much Oil in the Ground
  5. Don’t Change Horses in the Middle of a Stream
  6. Soul Vaccination
  7. Willing To Learn
  8. This Time It’s Real
  9. So Very Hard To Go
  10. What Is Hip?
  11. You’re Still a Young Man