Every review I’ve read of funk/soul legend Sly Stone performing the last night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has not been kind.
This take won’t be different but I’ll try to be constructive with the criticism. Stone admitted on stage in his low, raspy voice that he hadn’t rehearsed and that was the biggest problem to overcome.
He would perform songs quickly then want to change the instrumental even faster while he added curse words, which caused nervous laughter from the audience and a rough set.
His keyboard playing would be off tone or off tempo at times and sometimes in singing he couldn’t catch up to the instrumental or was not in the right key. It doesn’t even matter what the songs were … the end result was the same.
Stone’s group of talented singers tried to sing over him or prop him up as his background. This still couldn’t mask the sound though because you can pick Stone’s vocals out from anywhere and if he doesn’t sing he becomes more prominent in the mix.
When Stone stood up at times he looked hunched over and frail and you felt bad for the guy. I wished someone would have threw their arms around him and walked him off the stage but it didn’t happen. I’m sure the band wants to make their money too so I can understand. Stone’s set at Coachella, rescheduled from a missed time slot earlier in the day at a different tent, was definitely anticipated and probably lucrative from the band’s perspective.
Toward his set’s end, Stone walked himself off the stage singing to try to get the audience involved toward his set’s end but it was too late. Many people appeared to have already made their way out of the tent or were on their way.
While this set was not musicially good, from an entertainment perspective it was hard to stop watching. So I guess that is one positive.