Having heard a rumor that the amazing band fronted by Jake and Elwood Blues had left Chicago and surfaced in Boise, I headed over to the Idaho Botanical Gardens where they were going to do a show. Sure enough, the Blues Brothers Rock n Soul Revue had a line of people waiting to get in to hear them do their blend of blues and soul with some rock and R&B thrown in too. The Idaho Botanical Gardens is a beautiful location for a concert, with the stage surrounded by trees, plants and even water.
I got a chance to talk to Jake and Elwood Blues about what they are doing these days. Elwood told me, ‘We’re on a mission from God. And we’re on a mission to keep the Blues Brothers alive’. Jake explained it this way, ‘We do it all. I was told that I need to find this guy and so I did; and that changed the whole universe. For the Blues Brothers Rock n Soul Revue for sure! What you’re seeing tonight is just a version of what we’ve done for almost 25 years together’.
The show started and immediately the dance area was filled with people, the dancing crowd getting even larger as the evening progressed. The music choices were great, Blues Brothers standards like Hey Bartender, Rubber Biscuits and Messin’ With the Kid were interspersed with covers such as Get Ready, Proud Mary and Good Lovin’. Rawhide, the theme from the classic TV show, featured Elwood on vocals and Jake on the rawhide leather whip.
Elvis appeared in the second set to do the classic Little Sister, while everyone was singing along to Bruce Springsteen’s Pink Cadillac. Songs like Devil in the Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly and Gary US Bond’s New Orleans, which was the climactic all-star song used in the movie Blues Brothers 2000, kept the evening jumping (read the story of how the song came to be used in the movie here).
The interaction was terrific, with both Jake and Elwood venturing into the audience to sing up close and personal. For the last tune, a rousing version of Grand Funk Railroad’s classic We’re An American Band had everyone singing and dancing. After much cheering, the Blues Brothers performed an encore, the classic tune Soul Man. Overall, it was an excellent show and the audience loved it. The evening was an excellent tribute to the music and performance of the Blues Brothers.
Soul Man is one of the Blues Brothers songs they are most famous for. But what are Jake and Elwood’s personal favorites? Elwood said, ‘ I like the James Brown song, I Feel Good and I like the Sonny Boy Williamson tune Checkin’ Up On My Baby’. Jake had his own choice, adding ‘I like most all of them. I have to say, I changed the name of Sweet Home Chicago to Sweet Home Idaho. I’m kind of partial to that’.
The Blues Brothers Rock n Soul Revue will be playing in Boise again in a few months. Elwood told The Boise Beat, ‘Our next big gig upcoming is at the Riverside November 10th in the Sapphire Room. It’s a wonderful place to watch music and gig. It’s small though, so you want to get your tickets as quickly as you can. We’ve sold it out a couple of times already. We have a blast every time we’re there. If you’re a fan, come see us’.
Elwood finished our talk by adding, ‘Well we’ve had a great time doing this; it’s just a great release from all the things that are going on in the world; it’s fun, good people and good times. It means a lot to us’. Jake, too, feels good about what they are doing. He said, ‘I never was involved with music until I was thirty-eight years old. When I once sang in a band my wife turned round and said, ‘what do you think of that?”, and I said ‘Let’s do that!’. And it was a matter of just finding my way to him; and he was just doing Elvis Presley at the time. I said to him, ‘Do you want to do the Blues Brothers?. He said, ‘I love the Blues Brothers’. I said, ‘I’m Jake Blues. Let’s go to work!’. That was almost 25 years ago. We don’t want to tell you our age, but we started 25 years ago. Anyways, it’s a good story!’.
Photo Gallery follows. All photos by Ed Simon for The Boise Beat.