Various Artists -- A Celebration for Jim Capaldi / Jan. 21, 2007 / London (Roundhouse)
Any unenlightened observer of this generously mounted tribute concert would have soon realized that Jim Capaldi meant a great deal to an awful lot of his fellow rock musicians.Any unenlightened observer of this generously mounted tribute concert would have soon realized that Jim Capaldi meant a great deal to an awful lot of his fellow rock musicians.
The star-laden affair, staged at the reopened location of many great London rock events, served to celebrate Capaldi's work as drummer and co-writer with 1960s/1970s British experimental heroes Traffic. But it also managed to emphasize, in a show of some three hours, that his musical contribution stretched far beyond that.
Pete Townshend, Paul Weller, Yusuf Islam, Gary Moore and Bill Wyman were among those on hand, as was Capaldi's longtime friend and writing partner Steve Winwood. Close to the second anniversary of his death from cancer on Jan. 28, 2005, at the age of 60, the event raised funds for the Jubilee Action Street Children Appeal, a Brazilian charity in which Capaldi and his wife Anina were active.
BBC Radio 2 presenter and former "Old Grey Whistle Test" TV series frontman Bob Harris made an avuncular host at a show where the mood of magnanimity never wavered. Weller, an avowed fan of early Traffic recordings, opened proceedings with a version of the group's debut hit of 1967, "Paper Sun," later returning to interpret their third top 10 success of that year, the less-aired "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush."
As the set weaved Capaldi's Traffic years with solo material and other collaborations, the warmly-received Islam offered "Man With No Country," from Jim's 1981 album "Let The Thunder Cry." There was an extra frisson as he interpolated a couple of lines of his own "Wild World."
Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh ably assumed vocal duties on Traffic's "Forty Thousand Headmen," but of course it was Winwood who led an extended review of the band's album rock heyday, with "Rainmaker," "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" and "Light Up or Leave Me Alone." "I feel blessed to have worked with Jim," he said. "It's something I'll never forget."
Townshend's contribution was restricted to one song, but it was one of the evening's high spots. He prefaced "No Face, No Name, No Number" by recalling that Capaldi had been part of the band that the Who frontman formed to "bring Eric Clapton back from the dead" at the famous Rainbow concert of 1973.
Other contributors included many musicians as respected as they are widely travelled, such as former Deep Purple organ master Jon Lord, Simon Kirke (Bad Company, Free), Dennis Locorriere, Ray Cooper and Paul "Wix" Wickens.
Winwood and Walsh returned to lead a closing version of "Love Will Keep Us Alive," co-written by Capaldi with Paul Carrack and Peter Vale and recorded by the Eagles for 1994's "Hell Freezes Over."
The aura of affection from friends and fans on both sides of the footlights was pervasive throughout. It continues via the donations of artifacts from many other stars (including Elton John, Robert Plant, Carlos Santana and Dave Matthews) for a memorabilia auction, also in aid of Jubilee Action, to take place on eBay from Feb. 19.