A splendid evening with Lake Street Dive among the flowers of Longwood Gardens - WXPN
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Lake Street Dive / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

From California to Massachusetts, Lake Street Dive has been hitting the road for a little over a month now, playing a dizzying array of festivals, theaters, parks, and more. But all good things must come to an end, which is exactly what happened over last night among the dazzling horticultural displays of Longwood Gardens. Having a splendid evening with a sold out Philly crowd, the four piece soul-funk fusion played the last night of their condensed tour.

First on the bill was Bhi Bhiman with a set that got the crowd bopping in their seats. Quite coy about his stage presence, Bhiman seemed a little stiff compared to his two counterparts. But the lack of movement was easily compensated once the three began to groove. Pulling from an eclectic range of influences, the funk-like sound can’t easily be stuffed into a box like “folk” or “blues.” But whatever you wish to call it, the St. Louis bred mastermind definitely infuses each song, like “Bread and Butter” and “Up In Arms,” with a great deal of heart and soul. By the end of his set, the entire crowd had their feet tapping along to the shoulder-swaying worthy rhythm.

If you’re a fan of Lake Street Dive, there is no doubt you will enjoy the subtle groove of Bhi Bhiman. Don’t get too distraught if you missed him at Longwood Gardens, you can still catch him at Union Transfer later this month.

In anticipation for the main act to start, the crowd quickly filled up the remaining empty seats in the garden’s lawn. The lights went low, and “Uptown Girl” came over the speakers as the first of the soul quartet, drummer Mike Calabrese, ran to his set far on stage right.

Once in his place, he flooded out the sound of “Uptown Girl” with a beat that hushed the crowd. Before long, Bridget Kearney came to take her place and add her own bit with the upright bass. Mike Olsen was quick to follow suit and found his spot while adding a jaunty melody that raised excitement. Last but certainly not least, Rachel Price arrived to her mic and slid straight into “Rabid Animal.”

Keeping the energy high with some slick dance moves, Price and her counterparts ran through a dynamic set of robust vocals and compelling harmonies that got the crowd up out of their seats. Trying out a new song in their repertoire, the band got the audience’s help the sing the refrain of “Hell Yeah,” which was very well received. Songs were pulled from their entire musical library, including “Hello? Goodbye!,” “Elijah,” and “Seventeen.” They also pulled a few from their favorite influences, like Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass.” After finishing the set with “You Go Down Smooth,” the band played a two cover encore, getting help from Bhi Bhiman’s impressive high ranged vocals for “Take It to the Limit” by the Eagles, and finishing with the crowd singing along to Hall and Oates’ “Rich Girl.”

This tour run may be done, but Lake Street Dive is happy to oblige the demand for more shows. Keep an eye on their concert calendar for added appearances in October and November. Check out the photo gallery below to relive the show.

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