Rick Keene Music Scene – Herb Alpert; Live Without the Whipped Cream!

Herb Alpert is one of a kind.

Last night at Place des Arts, the ‘lonely bull’ was not so lonely. Accompanied by his wife of fifty years (Lani Hall) and a trio of musicians who could headline on their own, Alpert displayed why he is Herb Alpert.

Many times artists from generations far far away arrive in town and one of two things happen; they either put on a performance a quarter of the caliber they once did (due to the ravages of time) or – they rest on their laurels and mail in a performance complete with insolence.

There is a reason Herb Alpert has sold over 70 million records. Passion. A belief in what he does and why he does it. Authenticity.

Once upon a time in Montreal, Mitch Ryder of the Detroit Wheels fame ‘rode’ into town. During that performance – Mr. Ryder decided to start talking.Telling stories of yesteryear. His banter went on long enough, the punters started yelling for him to shut up and play music. After all – they did pay to hear music didn’t they?

Herb Alpert told stories short and long – any comparison between Alpert and Ryder seemed silly. Not because one artist’s music outweighed the other, childish because of the feelings from inside both gentlemen. Alpert’s talent comes from deep within.Those feelings are catapulted to the audience through his trumpet and voice. As Herb spun tales of his music, A&M Records or his wife Lani – it was as if a long lost friend was relaying things to the audience and the audience reaction was profound. Herb makes you care whether you want to or not.

Alpert’s ‘gift’ – that human feeling also shines in the music. Starting with a medley of the Tijuana Brass hits through to the final song ‘Copacabana’ – Herb and his onstage ‘helpers’ projected empathy through music. Audiences can always smell ‘a rat’ but last night the only aroma circulating at Place des Arts was pure Mickey Mouse. Disney himself could not have drawn such a complex and pure of soul character as Mr. Alpert (although the music would have made a nice soundtrack).

Videos, images and old movie footage adorned three screens as the band played. Alpert – quite aware of his presence in the year 2023 and keeping up to date with the same visual show one may expect from a Taylor Swift concert. The musician, the writer, the entrepreneur, the sculptor and the philanthropist making sure people remember the show.

Herb Alpert is one of a kind that way.

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