Robert Randolph, Columbus, OH, Promowest Pavilion, September 19, 2004
For some of the more hardcore music enthusiasts Robert Randolph & The Family Band have been a staple of their CD changer for quite sometime. Whether is was their brief sets on the 2003 Sprite Liquid Mix Tour or their small venue appearances such as the Newport Music Hall, fans flocked to see this Jam band play their asses off. But lo and behold, Robert Randolph reached the masses when he and the Family Band landed the opening slot on Eric Clapton’s US tour. From there, Randolph and crew were going to spread their message and music even wider with the opening slot for Lenny Kravitz, but all that unfurled when Kravitz announced the cancellation of his tour due to family matters. But for those few music aficionados who have enjoyed Randolph from the beginning, that was more a blessing than a curse as Robert Randolph and The Family band invaded Promowest Pavilion in Columbus with 2-hours of hand-clapping, hip-shaking jive!

Randolph and the Band put together a tremendous show, with everything from the absurdity of each band member playing drums, bass and Randolph’s signature steel guitar during the same jam to inviting any woman in the crown to join the party on stage to “shake their hips” along to Randolph’s signature voice and even more signature gospel-sounding, room-shaking music.

Attending a Robert Randolph concert is much like attending an AA meeting. How, one may ask? It seems that at every show, there are the diehards who attend every revival show, and each time they attend the meeting of music, they bring along a friend and “sponsor” that person to the addictiveness of the music. Randolph’s music is like an obsession, as even Randolph himself admits on stage, sometimes you just have to get up and dance. Heck, even Randolph from time to time has to get up from behind his steel guitar and shake those hips and move those feet.

In the first hour and fifteen minutes, the Family Band managed to play nine songs and keep everyone enthralled for each moment. This is one of the few bands that just cannot capture even a tenth of their live energy on CD, and that is anything but a put down. But like many of those sponsors, I too brought someone to witness the event for the first time. And although he heard parts of the CD before attending the show, there was no match for the look on his face and the realization of what he has been missing out on for the past few years.

Except for those lucky few which found Robert Randolph in whatever way they did, years have gone by and countess concerts have passed through Columbus and Ohio with little attendance as Robert Randolph and The Family Band scrapped, clawed and played their way to where they are today.

There were almost no faults to the show except one, and the fault has to be blamed right on the music fans of Columbus, OH. That fault is the venue was too empty for a show of this magnitude. There are no reasons the show shouldn’t have sold better, and Columbus does have great music fans. It was a disappointment to see the lack of true music fans show up this night, and although those who did attend brought those to sponsor just like any other Family Band show, there just were not enough hardcore attendees to show up. Or is everyone just falling off the wagon?