Blind Boys of Alabama Show P-town How to Party
By: Susan Blood, March 28, 2012
Courtesy The Blind Boys of Alabama - Blind Boys members young and old join on stage in October 2011. Founding member Jimmy Carter is second from the left, holding a microphone.
“The Blind Boys of Alabama do not like to sing to a conservative crowd,” the band's founding member Jimmy Carter told us before launching into their show on Saturday night in Provincetown.
He didn't need to worry. The Provincetown Town Hall was packed with people who were ready to party, Blind Boys style.
“We hope we can sing something, or say something, that lifts you up,” Carter added.
The band was definitely preaching to the converted, but even a newcomer in the pews would have been swept up in their church-infused vibe. Backed by a rock-solid rhythm section that included a surprisingly lyrical bass player, the Blind Boys performed signature songs like “Amazing Grace,” sung to “House of the Rising Sun,” along with tracks off their latest country-inspired album and a couple tunes straight out of New Orleans.
At one point, Carter was led off stage and through the audience, singing all the while. After taking several tours though the hall, it became clear that his manager was having difficulty getting him to leave the audience and return to the stage. There was nothing conservative about the crazy love he must have felt from the room.
Payomet Performing Arts Center worked for over a year to book the Blind Boys of Alabama. When they finally settled on a date, it turned out to be the weekend Provincetown's community radio station WOMR was kicking off its 30th anniversary celebration. As a long-time partner of WOMR, Payomet teamed up with the station, making the concert a WOMR fundraiser and anniversary party.
Over 600 people showed up to celebrate and see the Blind Boys. If it weren't for the available street parking (unheard of in Provincetown), you'd swear it was summer. It was Payomet's first big show outside of Truro, and judging from the response, it won't be the last. The Provincetown Town Hall is the outer Cape's largest performance venue, and was recently (and wonderfully) renovated. Some of us were glad for those renovations when the crowd started dancing in the balconies above.
The next Payomet show is the Eilen Jewell band, with opening guest Tripping Lily at the Wellfleet Congregational Church on April 15.
Summer music in the Payomet tent in Truro includes Rosanne Cash, David Bromberg Quartet, John Mayall, Rickie Lee Jones, Sierra Hull & Highway 111, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys. Tickets for these shows have not gone on sale yet—but they’re bound to go fast. Keep an eye on payomet.org for more information.