Monday, May 29, 2017

Dispatch from Sasquatch!: the great Charles Bradley is back!

Posted By on Mon, May 29, 2017 at 10:11 AM

click to enlarge Bradley disappeared for a moment, only to return triumphantly. - SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL
  • Samantha Wohlfeil
  • Bradley disappeared for a moment, only to return triumphantly.

A few songs into his Sasquatch! Music Festival set, soul great Charles Bradley left the stage.

 The set marked his triumphant return to the Pacific Northwest after a stomach cancer diagnosis led him to cancel shows in the area last fall to start treatment and take time to recover.

His Extraordinaires kept the soul music flowing during the Friday set, which was one of the first shows Bradley had taken on after his treatment and recovery. But when the break stretched on past a single song break, people started to filter out of the large crowd gathered at the Bigfoot stage.

Too bad they didn’t wait.
After a few songs (which may indeed have been meant to give the recovering artist a well-deserved break during his set), his keyboardist sauntered to the mic and asked the crowd if they were ready for more.

“You didn’t think that was it, did you?” he asked as the crowd cheered. “Nah, he just went to slip into something a little more comfortable!”

Bradley re-entered in a full-length blue jumpsuit straight out of the ’70s, complete with sparkly belt and flared pants.

With sincere pain and feeling, hope and love, Bradley gave the crowd a strong performance, calling on each and every one of the people there to make positive changes in the world.

“It’s time for you: a new generation, to make a change in the world,” Bradley said, referencing problems in America, and the recent terrorist attack in Manchester.

His most recent album, Changes, released a year ago, is named for his cover of the Black Sabbath song by that name. Bradley said his late mother made him learn the lyrics to sing them to the room.

“I feel unhappy. I feel so sad. I have lost the best friend that I ever had,” Bradley started, voice dripping with emotion.

Later, he addressed the largely white crowd, saying, “In my heart, there’s only one red heart, the heart that you carry in you. We’ve all got to make changes, brothers and sisters, no matter your creed or your color.”

All men and women are created equal, he said, sharing a story about different colored roses, and calling on the crowd to create a beautiful bouquet out of all the different flowers.

Some of those who stuck around were lucky enough to get a rose from Bradley himself, as he walked through the crowd with a large bouquet, handing out red buds to men and women and embracing fans.

He held people in warm hugs for several minutes after the music ended, kissing one man on the cheek, and speaking in another woman’s ear.

During the show, he thanked his fans sincerely for their letters of support after his diagnosis and for the words of encouragement to get back out and perform.

His next stop was Bottlerock in Napa on Sunday, then on to the Brooklyn Bowl in New York on June 1.

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