“After 42 years, we finally got this gig!” joked Blood, Sweat & Tears lead singer Jason Paige at several points during the band’s two-hour set Saturday night at City Winery. Even though there are no original members of the jazz rock legends in the current roster, it didn’t stop them form playing music from the band’s earlier days. The Beatles’ “Gotta Get You Into My Life” and Carol King’s “Hi-De-Ho,” with their slick horn arrangements and tight vocal harmonies made for some of the night's most memorable moments. But as the night wore on, the band’s gimmicks - like switching from a rock groove to a jazz groove for solos and then switching back for one last high-pitched chorus - became repetitive and quickly got old.
No argument that the current members of Blood, Sweat & Tears are some of the finest players around. Dave Gellas, the bands guitarist and longest standing member, switched seamlessly between rock and jazz licks like only an expert could. Gary Foote played a jaw-dropping tribute to former BS&T bassist Jaco Pastorius. Jason Paige, the band's newest member, has an impressive range and can deliver moving performances in a growly tenor or a shimmering falsetto with enviable ease. And, musical director and trumpet player Steve Jankowski deserves credit for leading the band through complex arrangements and shifting time signatures.
But, excellent technical performances don’t always make for excellent shows, and despite Paige’s attempts to get the audience excited (which included running around the audience and changing into a shiny orange shirt), the show felt more like a walk down memory lane than the groundbreaking musical tour-de-force Blood, Sweat & Tears brought to the table 42 years ago. They hit all the right notes, but did nothing more than mildly amuse this nostalgic, wine-sipping audience.