Who says LA has no heart? Not The Tribe, LA’s unique collective of first-call session and touring musicians, vocalists and name artists who gathered on short notice at the famed the E-Spot jazz club in Sherman Oaks Sunday night to raise money the Haiti relief fund. Heart was very much in evidence as 20 musicians donated their time and talent, entertaining the audience with over two dozen songs, plus stories, jokes, poetry and just plain fun while fans dropped checks and bills into Pure Water for the World’s collections buckets at each table.
Coordinated by the indefatigable and irrepressible Lauri Reimer, the packed stage featured more talent than you see in a Grammy Awards night. Moving on and off stage were Freebo (Bonnie Raitt, CSN), Marc Mann (Danny Elfman, Jeff Lynne), Rob Bonfiglio (Wilson Phillips), Ginger Blake & Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford (The Honeys), Jeff Alan Ross (Peter Asher, Badfinger), John Wicks (The Records), Dave Pearlman (Dan Fogelberg, Bobby Womack), Al. Keith (Dave Wakeling, Sugar Ray), John Pratt, Kevin Wachs, Jay Cohen, Michael Stern, Lois Blaisch, the poet Stephen Kalinich, Gary Stockdale, Adam Daniel, Scotty Mitchell, John McNeely, Steve Goddard and Pete Wagonhurst. Also part of the group, but not onstage Sunday night are Albert Lee, Bob Cowsill, and Carnie and Wendy Wilson, among others.
Mistress of Ceremonies Reimer not only kept all of the musicians in line and on schedule, but sang and accompanied herself on the tambourine…smiling all the way through, an impressive feat all by itself.
High points abounded, from The Honeys singing the Everly Brothers hit “All I have to Do is Dream” to Freebo’s heart rendering “No Place Like Home” to Gary Stockdale’s sly “Smoking” lampooning the tobacco industry – after informing the millennials in the crowd that yes, there was a time when most people smoked, even on TV. The Beatles made an appearance (of course) with “A Little from my Friends ” sung by Kevin Wachs and “All you Need is Love” by Pete Wagonhurst – all with giddy and mostly in key audience participation. For me the song that still vibrates a day later was “Hallelujah” by Adam Daniel, backed up by Reimer and Lois Blaisch.
Given that Reimer had only two and half weeks to assemble and promote the evening, and that some of the musicians were actually travelling and flew in for the concert – with only an hour to spare in one case – Haiti Relief went off extremely well. The only disappointment was that it did not sell out, even with a ticket price of only $20. It was by far the best musical bargain in LA on Sunday night. To get that much talent together, rehearsed, geared up and giving their all to the audience was worth much, much more.
The nature of The Tribe is what made it possible, in addition to Reimer’s organizing and artist herding skills. The Tribe are all LA-based musicians whose mission is to gather and perform for various cause; it is what they do. Selling them on the idea is the easy part; getting them all onstage at the same time in less than three weeks was quite an accomplishment.
If you missed the Haiti Relief show at the E-Spot, there is still time to donate at www.purewaterfortheworld.org and to see the Tribe at the upcoming Peace, Love and Understanding concert at Cal State University at Northridge Plaza del Sol Performance Hall, Dec. 4. If it is anything like the Haiti Relief concert it will be the best music bargain in LA, and it will have a lot of heart.