On April 27th, 2019, The Upper Room presented Dove Award winning vocalist, Bryan Duncan, in concert.
At 7:30 pm, founder and host, Ron Strand, greeted the audience. He began the evening with “60s and 70s Trivia” and gave away Upper Room T-shirts to individuals who correctly answered each question. Some of the questions were: Which U.S. president appeared in the comedy TV series “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” (Nixon), In the 1969 film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” what was the name of Butch’s gang (Hole-in-the-Wall), Why were they called Spaghetti Westerns (they were produced and directed by Italians), and What was the name of the 1961 musical based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (“West Side Story”)?
In preparation for the energetic main event, Ron asked if anyone wanted protection for their ears. In a surprising and amusing response, he tossed handfuls of orange earplugs into the audience.
Ron introduced Bryan Duncan, who took the stage with a large band, including a three piece horn section. Bryan kicked off the concert with two upbeat tunes: “Wheels of a Good Thing,” and “Rock Steady.” He kept things rolling with the smooth pop tune “Blue Skies.”
Bryan dedicated his rendition of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” to his wife. Adding musical savor to the romantic tune, “Lovin’ You,” was a clarinet and muted horn.
During a humorous aside, Bryan admitted that sometimes he has to Google himself to remember the lyrics to his songs. This is especially true of older songs, like the ones he recorded with the Sweet Comfort Band. He performed one of those classic tunes next, the stirring ballad “Never Should Have Left You.”
Bryan shared some experiences from his younger years and performed the moving tribute he wrote for his mother, “Remember My Mother.” He conceded that sometimes during the songwriting process, it’s difficult to put words down on paper. This struggle became the inspiration for the slow jazz song, “No Words.”
Bryan sang one of his signature songs, “Love You with My Life,” which has a soulful vibe akin to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “That’s the Way of the World (Heart’s Afire).” He followed that up with the feel-good tune “Know It.”
Bryan announced that he has a new project coming out this summer and sang a selection from that album.
Donning a pair of shades, Bryan performed some “old school” material. The toe-tapping “One Touch Away” was followed by the funky groove “A Heavenly Light.” The up-tempo tunes kept coming with “Step By Step” and “Ain’t No Stoppin Now.”
Bryan closed out the concert with “Your Love, My Saving Grace,” a rambunctious, free-wheeling song that featured solos from all nine members of the band.
The concert was marked by Bryan’s stratospheric voice, which was in fine form, and some truly stellar musicianship. Another incredible evening at The Upper Room.