The always stylish Morris Day removed a handkerchief from his jacket pocket and dabbed his forehead. More than halfway through a show under intense lights, the singer and band leader of The Time began reacting to the heat.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Morris said from the stage of Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club on Friday night. “Morris Day is breaking out into a sweat on stage.
“But that’s not the case!” he countered. “Morris Day is like a fine bottle of champagne. When you take a bottle of champagne out of the refrigerator, what does it do? It undergoes condensation! So like that champagne, I’m condensating!”
The very full house at Bethesda Blues and Jazz yelped in approval. Once appropriately comforted, Morris slid back into his routine — a mixture of leading his band through funky jams, playfully (and stylishly of course) interacting with his audience, and singing his raucous signature R&B tunes.
Morris Day and the Time actually held two shows at Bethesda Blues on Friday night, and the later show was the fullest I ever had seen the venue. I can only imagine how packed the early show must have been! But Morris charmed everyone, occasionally praising the memory of his late friend Prince and occasionally talking directly to the audience. For one number, he invited all of the “sexy ladies” to the stage, and The Time dutifully recruited about 20 women or so from the audience to dance in the background with Morris and the band.
“Sexy of course is a state of mind,” Morris told the ladies in the house. “Sexy is a matter of how you feel. If you feel sexy, come up here on stage!”
The band gracefully accommodated a few more volunteers than initially anticipated, and guitarist Torrell “Tori” Ruffin serenaded them with his strings.
Outside their improvisation with the audience, The Time also dutifully performed popular numbers like “Jerk Out” and “Fishnet.” They closed the show of course with the big hits from the movie Purple Rain — “The Bird” and “Jungle Love,” both serving as a jolt of energy into an audience already more than energized by Morris’ entertaining wit and smooth crooning.
I’ll add as well what a pleasure it was to see Monte Moir, original and still keyboardist for The Time, doing his thing with Morris and the rest of the band, adding an electronic glow that distinguishes The Time’s dance tunes from the rest of the pack.
Morris Day and The Time have had a busy year, touring on their own and together with other artists in tributes to Prince. They still have a smattering of dates left his year and early next, including a particularly interesting show with Sheila E. in Memphis on Oct. 28! Wherever you catch them, they will surely prove to be worth your *own* time!
Here are some pictures of Morris Day and The Time, mostly Morris really, performing at Bethesda Blues and Jazz on Friday, Oct. 14.