08. Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
Charles Bradley’s shows have always been something of a revelation, but considering the man only recently beat cancer and returned to the stage, there was a palpable air of blessing to his Friday afternoon set. It’s true he’s not quite back to the sweating, dancing frontman he was just a few months ago; he’s thinner now and perhaps not as capable of the same energy. But if even at half-capacity he’s still able to belt out those howling notes like he did during “How Long” and “You Think I Don’t Know (But I Know)”, dropping to his knees to carry the weight of his mic stand like a bag of life’s worries, it stands as a testament to how incredible the Screaming Eagle of Soul truly is as a showman.
Besides, regardless of how virile the 68-year-old is at this point, he’s still got a killer backing band in His Extraordinaires. As people sought shelter from the brief downpour that passed over Randall’s Island, they were able to jam out to the powerful grooves of the six-piece while Bradley changed outfits backstage. Yes, he’s still doing costume changes, still preaching love and change through music, and still tossing that mic stand. Most importantly of all, he still loves you. As the crowd made abundantly clear with their constant cheers, they obviously still love him, too. Soar on, you crazy eagle. –Ben Kaye