Seeing an aging musician can be a gamble. I can’t count the number of times I’ve coughed up cash to see some geriatric legend to find myself bored out of my mind watching some drunk, washed-up mess. Luckily Andre Williams is not one of these musicians—he isn’t even close to it. On Monday night the 74-year old Black Godfather took the stage to a severely under packed crowd.
I arrived right as Williams’ backing band the Goldstars were sound checking. The Goldstars played three original songs, best described as garage rock injected with a bit of surf rock and some funk, before bringing Mr. Williams on stage. Williams was dressed to the nines and wasted no time dazzling the crowd with his soulful voice and hip-swaying dance moves. His energy was infectious, and within no time the majority of the crowd was dancing. The crowd’s energy peaked when Williams dove into his more sexually explicit songs like “Pussy Stank,” “Jail Bait” and “Let Me Put it In”. There was something amusing about watching a roomful of white folks get mildly uncomfortable listening to an aging black man sing such blatantly sexual songs. Between songs Williams joked with the crowd. Before the night was through he’d made a few polygamist jokes and pointed out that there was only a single black girl in the audience. The performance lasted approximately an hour and even included an encore—which I was surprised by.
Most of the time when these old musicians are done … they are done. Williams is clearly a true entertainer though. Williams owned the stage throughout the performance. One older man in the crowd was having so much fun he felt it necessary to heckle a girl that was using her cell phone and not paying attention to what was happening on stage. At the end of the night Williams stood by his merch table signing autographs and posing for pictures with his fans.
This was one of the better shows I have seen this summer. You would never guess Andre Williams’ age based on his performance on Monday night. The show was apparently his first time in Salt Lake City, and if I had to guess it might be his last. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for anyone who missed it that Williams liked us so much he decides to come back.