SLY STONE

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Myth & mystery are absent friends long missing from the music world. But these old friends returned as the new comeback kids late Friday night in a New York City nightclub.Sly & The Family Stone are musical legends, but Sly Stone is also known as a legendary badass. He’s infamous for no-shows at many of the gigs he’s been scheduled to play – but his eccentricity is the stuff that stars used to be made of.

Sly’s music has always been the key rallying point of a fan base that includes every artist who’s attempted to fuse funk, soul, R&B, and rock for the past decades.

The man was guided by angels when he first delivered handfuls of the most influential pop hits of all-time: “I Want to Take You Higher,” “Everyday People,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Stand!,” “Dance to the Music,” and “Thank You (Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).” (Essential holiday gifting) But demons might have circled around all that intense energy – pushing Sly Stone into the shadows for a long time.

We got late show tickets and stood online in the freezing cold for over 90 minutes waiting for the first show to empty out. When doors finally opened, most of the first-show-goers felt compelled to walk up to us on the late show line and throw nastyass reviews of what they’d just seen: “He sucked.” “Sell your tickets!” “You’re wasting your time.” “He was on for 10 minutes and disappeared.” “This guy’s stoned!” Many of them just leered at us – as if we need to be sparred the experience they’d just suffered. One intense a-hole got up in my face & threw some kind of comment that made me fight back. I told him to get the fuck home and he walked away to annoy someone else on the line.

You don’t see this kind of reaction at shows. Myth & mystery were on fire.

Our party of 3 knew we were about to experience something extraordinary – if the bouncers ever let us in – if the star ever decided to play the late show – and if we were able to regain any feeling in our feet & toes from the cold.

The 10:30 show still hadn’t started by about midnight. We got a table off to the side, near the front – right next to Chris Rock, Q-Tip and Jeffrey Wright. We figured if Rock was there – Sly had to be coming out – and he did…at exactly midnight. That was my first clue that the man behind the myth might have had a plan all along. At least I thought that way – but maybe it was just an accident.

The set that followed was nothing like the early crowd was ranting and bitching about. Sly & The Family Stone performed non-stop for a 70-minute set filled with nothing but his best hits. The effect was mesmerizing. We kept thinking that he’d disappear from the stage and never come back. He walked off, once or twice – but only to appear from the backstage curtain & onto the main floor of the room – inches from where we were standing. He walked through the crowd like a prize fighter reclaiming the championship belt. Chris Rock and friends looked like they were having a time and the fully-packed crowd was completely engaged and alive.

We started making a list that night of the kind of people you’d want to see with their own “My Damn Channel.” I’m sure we’d never get him to take our call – but we stand ready to serve if Sly decides to use our distribution.

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