Saturday afternoon, the third Smooth Jazz 92.7 Fan Appreciation Concert took place at the Crowne Plaza Reading ballroom with a double bill of Four80 East, followed by Nick Colionne.
Four80East hail from Toronto, Canada, they were enforced by guests Matt Marshak on guitar and Shilts on sax. Their infectious, ultra-groovy sound soon had everyone bop their heads right from the start, their leader Rob DeBoer sat behind the keyboards in front of the stage leading the band through the songs. The played "Roll On", then Shilts played his own "Looks What's Happening" burning on the sax, followed by Matt Marshak doing his "Funkology", before the band took over with their own "En Route", then Matt Marshak played his "On The Rocks" showing his chops on the guitar. The band went back in time playing their very first single called "East Side", before Shilts led through the Down To The Bone tracks "Staten Island Groove" and "Brooklyn Heights" that were played back to back, wrapping up the show.
After an intermission, smooth jazz super-star Nick Colionne with special guest Eric Darius on sax took over. His high-energy show captured the audience right from the first note and didn't let go until the end of the show, this man is an extraordinary player and entertainer. He had a top-notch band with him, they were Tim Gant and John Erickson on keyboards, Lamar Jones on bass and the incredible Chris Miskel on drums. Eric Darius played his own "Just For The Moment" and "Going All Out", his youthful energy is the perfect complement for Nick Colionne, and they had a great time on stage together feeding off each other. Things slowed down with the beautiful song "Everything Must Change" that was another suitable choice for the deep, velvety voice of Nick Colionne, the song had a great climax with a funky guitar solo, before it slowed down for the end. Then they did a blues, followed by a Alicia Keys cover featuring Eric Darius, he went out in the crowd serenading some women, which had the crowd cheering. They went old school with their rendition of "Hurry Up This Way Again", allowing to do Nick his lengthy stroll out into the audience with an extended guitar solo going all the way, another highlight of the show. Eric Darius funked it up with "Slick" playing his sax energetically. They finished their great show with a James Brown inspired instrumental. This was one of the very best concerts of the whole festival for me, it was "off the hook"!