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Pop : Boz Scaggs: Rock Takes a Snooze

August 08, 1994|DENNIS HUNT

Boz Scaggs, who enjoyed his greatest commercial success in the mid-'70s with his eclectic mixture of pop, blues, R&B and rock, is trying another comeback. His latest album, "Some Change," has been a slow seller, needing strong live shows to boost sales.

His performance Saturday at the sold-out House of Blues was the start of Scaggs' first U.S. tour in 14 years, but it was a real snoozer--tepid rocking-chair rock.

Scaggs' voice has lost some of its edge and power, but that's to be expected. What wasn't expected was Scaggs' mellow manner. Though never a great performer, he at least used to deliver a fairly rousing show. For most of Saturday's set, however, he and his accompanists--a six-piece band and two female backup singers--were far too laid back.

Another problem is his new material, which mostly lacks punch. For it to click live, the music needs a high-energy presentation--pounding percussion and thunderous lead-guitar work. For some reason, though, Scaggs chose the mellow approach.

Much of the time the crowd seemed to tune him out. Sometimes the din from the chattering customers was so loud you could hardly hear the show.

Scaggs did finish on a high note, flashing some muscle on a few oldies, showing he hasn't forgotten how to rock 'n' roll. But wading though a lot of dull songs to get to a few choice ones hardly seemed worth the effort.

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