Singer, songwriter, and former lead singer for The Lovin’ Spoonful, John Sebastian, has been making music for over 50 years. As a result; he has plenty of songs … and stories to share.
And he shared some of them on February 8 when he performed before a full house in the Bear’s Den Showroom at the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.
For this performance, John brought only himself and a couple of guitars. That was all he needed. The mostly older audience was quick to not only join in on the songs; but to do so in harmony. The Bear’s Den Showroom is known for its intimate atmosphere that brings fans closer to the stage and the performance. But this time, it was even more so with fans freely interacting with the events on the stage as if it was a big house concert in someone’s living room.
He spoke fondly of his days with The Lovin’ Spoonful as he performed “Do You Believe in Magic”, “You Didn’t Have to Be so Nice”, “Younger Girl”, “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind”, and “Daydream”.
He also spoke on the time honoured tradition of artists “borrowing” licks and ideas from those they admire or are inspired by as he showed a few examples. And that signature Lovin’ Spoonful sound came from his love of Jug Band Music.
Whether it be tales of trying to get his sons to go to sleep with lullabies – the first one was easy, the second one…not so much – or traveling the southern United States in a big yellow school bus with The Supremes, John Sebastian enthralled the audience.
Long before Vincent Price famously wrote his dialogue in a cab on the way to the studio to record “Thriller”; John Sebastian used an empty Camel cigarettes package – it was the only thing available – to pen the lyrics for one of his songs in a cab on the way to the studio.
After many shouts of one more song, John Sebastian returned to the stage and promised to sing one more song IF the audience would put away their mobile phones – he was a bit unsettled by seeing people holding up their phones to video him. They did and he did – “Darling Be Home Soon”.
Even as the lights came up, the crowd was still chanting for one more song.
One song that was missing from the set list was “Summer in the City” but as John later noted, the song doesn’t sound good when played solo with just a guitar.