July 15, 2012. With a brand new album titled ‘Dreams’ just out, one could have been forgiven for thinking that Brian Culbertson’s ‘The Dream’ tour might just have been a timely showcase for what is already proving to be a fantastic collection. In fact nothing could have been further from the truth as in the user friendly confines of the Thornton Winery in Temecula, CA, Culbertson shared the stage with the legendary David Sanborn to enthrall a packed gathering with some memorable moments from their combined discographies. In fact Sanborn also has a new recording all set for release. This two-disc retrospective, ‘Then Again: The David Sanborn Anthology’ celebrates Sanborn’s first two decades as a recording artist and in the heat of a Southern Californian Sunday afternoon he dipped frequently into it as he and Culbertson traded hits in the way that only true musical icons can. With a heavyweight backing band that included both Eddie Miller and Ricky Peterson on keys, drummer Chris Miskel, Nicky Moroch on guitar and Richard Patterson on bass this was an immaculately presented show performed to the highest standard imaginable. In fact there was something there for everyone and as Culbertson got things moving with his seminal ‘Back In the Day’ the stage was set for a tremendous event.
Sanborn served an early reminder of his pedigree with a sumptuous rendition of ‘Maputo’, the outstanding track from his 1986 project with Bob James, ‘Double Vision’. It set the bar incredibly high but Culbertson matched it with ‘Always Remember’ only for Sanborn to come roaring back with ‘Spooky’. Culbertson’s ‘It’s On Tonight’ quickly followed but the true highlight of the first half of the show was Sanborn’s ‘Bang Bang’ from his 2002 ‘Essentials’ CD for which the audience needed little encouragement to get involved.
When Culbertson finally went to his ‘Dreams’ album it was for the current radio single ‘Your Smile’ which in turn led Sanborn to counter with the jazzy ‘Carmel Island’. Culbertson returned to ‘Dreams’ for the title cut which provided a tranquil resting place within an ocean of funk that was quickly restored by the sensational ‘Run For Cover’. Culbertson’s funky playing on trombone only served to add to the drama of this wonderful tune and as the show drove on to a high octane conclusion Sanborn’s ‘Chicago Song’ paved the way to Culbertson’s ‘Serpentine Fire’ before Sanborn made his own connection to the aptly named Dream Tour with ‘The Dream’. It was first released twenty-five years ago and will be out again as a single later this month.
Of course the Thornton crowd wanted more and as they roared the players back to the stage there was just time for Culbertson’s ‘Our Love’ that, as always, he dedicated to his wife Michelle.
The thirty-city Dream Tour will be traversing the USA through until the end of September. Catch it if you can.