A night to celebrate: On his birthday, Robert Cray showcases Harrah’s Lake Tahoe audio equipment

Conrad Buedel

Robert Cray spends his 62nd birthday in Tahoe onstage.

Robert Cray celebrated his 62nd birthday Saturday and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe gave him a present: a new sound system on which to perform.

Cray’s bright, razor-sharp guitar playing was an ideal way to showcase the venerable South Shore Room’s biggest audio upgrade in about 14 years.

“That was part of our plan going in because we wanted to work with his type of sound,” said Wayne Carlson, the head sound technician. “It went great.”

“Feeling all right?” Cray bantered to the audience of more than 500 early in the performance. “Then we can dig it.”

The Blues Hall of Fame member was in an unusually playful mood. “I’m not getting any older,” he quipped.

It was a 15-song, 70-minute set for the tight and talented Robert Cray Band. Barefoot bass player Richard Cousins, Cray’s best buddy since they both were kids, pranced about the stage. He always seems to be in a playful mode. The newest band member is Les Falconer, who tastefully solidified the pocket for today’s greatest rhythm guitarist.

Before he played with Otis Rush and Albert Collins, keyboardist Dover Weinberg was with Cray’s Eugene, Oregon, band from 1974-79. He’s back now, and he combined licks with Cray the first time the band slowed the tempo for the only cover song of the night, “Sitting on Top of the World,” a classic that was written in the 1930s.

And if you’re are going to play down-home blues why not play it on the best new low frequency equipment? — The Meyer Sound Labortatories’ model 1100 subwoofers and a new Galileo Callisto processor, which were used on this night for the first time with a live band.

A rare talent with the combination of a great voice, songwriting and guitar skills, Cray first broke out with national success in 1986 with the album “Strong Persuader,” and he played that record’s most popular song, “Right Next Door (Because of Me),” when he brought his Fender guitar to a whisper.

“Young Bob,” he sang. “Just 29 today!”

Related story: Robert Cray doesn’t mess with the silly stuff LINK

  • Robert Cray Band
    Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Aug. 1, 2015
  • 1 “Side Dish”
    2 “I’m Coming Home”
    3 “Sitting On Top of the World”
    4 “Shiver”
    5 “I’ll Always Remember You”
    6 “Sadder Days”
    7 “Poor Johnny”
    8 “Forecast Calls for Pain”
    9 “One of These Days”
    10 “I Can’t Fail”
    11 “Right Next Door (Because of Me)”
    12 “Chicken in the Kitchen”
  • Encore
    “Hip Tight Onions”
    “You Move Me”
    “Time Makes Two”
    Robert Cray Band Robert CrayRobert Cray Robert Cray Robert Cray

    Tim Parsons Tahoe Onstage

    Tim Parsons/ Tahoe Onstage



About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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