Live at Bumbershoot, Day 3: Lee Fields & The Expressions

all photos by Dave Lichterman

Lee Fields has been around for quite a while, but unlike most stars who’ve been shining for decades, instead of burning out, Fields shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Touting an impressive resume, playing and recording with countless legendary soul and funk bands over the past 40 years including Kool & The Gang, Sammy Gordon & The Hip Huggers, and Darrel Banks, Fields’ solo career is also an unbelievable treasure chest. Staying relevant and true to a classic sound is no easy task, and so it’s remarkable that his recent albums are a perfect example of music that once ruled supreme, and a style that Fields has perfected with time.

Kicking off the third and final day of the Bumbershoot Music Lounge after killing his set last night at the TuneIn stage, Fields took the stage and launched into “Still Hanging On” off his 2012 album Faithful Man with his absolutely timeless voice.

An absolutely amazing showman, Fields commanded the stage with more style and grace than any other music lounge performer this year. While the rest of his band did a somewhat awkward side shuffle, Fields swaggered across the stage with enough hip-swinging, soul-convulsions, and eyebrow-raising to rival James Brown.

Fields’ followed up with “Ladies” off of his 2009 album My World before somberly dedicating “Wish You Were Here” to a “special someone” who had recently passed away. Regardless of how many times he had made the dedication before, when a performer with as much on-stage passion as Fields brings in the crowd for an incredibly personal moment of seriousness, it’s absolutely arresting.

Dripping in sweat and honesty, Fields’ incredibly genuine performance finished off with plenty of more swings and screams, receiving a standing ovation from the Music Lounge crowd before graciously exiting the stage. If you’re in Portland tonight, do yourself a favor and catch his show at the Doug Fir Lounge.

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