Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1

    Live At The Opera House: The Complete Recordings 2 CD Sylvester Date sept 6,2024


    March 11, 1979 was the evening that cemented dance superstar Sylvester's legend. The 3,100+-seat San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, home since 1932 to the San Francisco Opera company, was filled to capacity with fans who'd come to see their hometown hero in his singular splendor. Mayor Dianne Feinstein had sent city supervisor and gay rights activist Harry Britt to present Sylvester, mid-show, with the key to the city. That concert, during which Sylvester was joined by the electrifying duo of Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes Armstead, a.k.a. Two Tons o' Fun, was recorded by Fantasy Records and released in truncated form as the album Living Proof. Highlights, including the singer's thunderous "You Are My Friend" and a powerfully intimate medley of Barry Manilow and Adrienne Anderson's "Could It Be Magic" and Leon Russell's "A Song for You," were included last year on Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music's 2CD anthology Disco Heat: The Fantasy Years 1977-1981. Now, on September 6, Craft Recordings will issue the complete concert for the very first time as Live at the Opera House. The recording, AAA-mastered for vinyl, will be available in 3LP, 2CD, and digital formats. This remarkable set joins Second Disc/Real Gone's June 28 release of Two Tons o' Fun's Get the Feeling: The Complete Fantasy/Honey Recordings, featuring Sylvester, on 2 CDs.
    Sylvester told The Advocate in October 1977, "I have no real projections except I want to play the San Francisco Opera House. I am--and I'm saying this--I am going to play the opera house! It's going to be a fabulous show with a full orchestra, lots of costumes, lots of lighting and lots of everything. Lots! And whenever you think you have too much, you should put on more, just to be safe." When it came to Sylvester, excess = success. He took the stage with a pair of top 40 hits under his belt, "Dance [[Disco Heat)" and the era-defining "You Make Me Feel [[Mighty Real)," both of which also reached No. 1 on the Billboard Dance chart. The gender-defying, church-rooted, and openly and unapologetically gay singer with a distinctive falsetto had gone from the underground to the pop mainstream, supporting such artists as Dionne Warwick, The Commodores, Chaka Khan, and WAR and appearing on television with Dick Clark, Merv Griffin, and Dinah Shore.
    Taking place just months after the brutal assassination of San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk - the first openly gay man elected to public office in California - the concert offered an evening of collective relief for a traumatized community. Ready to inspire as well as entertain, Sylvester met the moment with majesty and grandeur. A 26-piece orchestra opened the show with a theatrical overture before supporting Sylvester on a varied setlist, organized thematically and consisting of both floor-fillers and quieter ballads.
    His two crossover Dance chart-toppers were heard twice during the show, in vocal and orchestral renditions. He previewed material that would appear on his 1979 album Stars [["Body Strong" and a cover of the Leiber/Stoller-adapted hit for Ben E. King, "I [[Who Have Nothing)"), put his own disco twist on the Jackson 5/Gloria Gaynor smash "Never Can Say Goodbye," and paired Benard Ighner's oft-covered "Everything Must Change" with his own "You Are My Love." Sylvester reached back to his jazz roots for "Lover Man [[Oh Where Can You Be)" and nodded to pop with covers of The Beatles [["Blackbird") and Barry Manilow [["Could It Be Magic," reinvented as a sensual duet with pianist Eric Robinson). An emotional highlight was his performance of Patti LaBelle's "You Are My Friend," which he dedicated to the audience even as his deep bond with Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes Armstead - integral parts of his onstage act and far more than "mere" background singers - was felt by all in attendance.
    The original Living Proof album featured highlights from the concert on three sides of the 2LP set, with the fourth side premiering studio material. The album reached No.45 on Billboard's R&B chart and yielded charting singles including "Can't Stop Dancing" [[No. 2 Dance/No. 43 R&B), "You Are My Friend" [[No. 30 R&B), and "In My Fantasy [[I Want You, I Need You)" [[No. 2 Dance).
    Following the so-called disco backlash, Sylvester moved to his friend Patrick Cowley and Marty Blecman's small, San Francisco-based Megatone label. 1982's Patrick Cowley collaboration "Do You Wanna Funk" would inaugurate Sylvester's time at Megatone with a top 5 Dance hit; it was especially successful throughout Europe. [[He'd recently charted on the R&B survey, as well, as a guest on Herbie Hancock's "Magic Number.) He remained on Megatone through 1986. The following year, Sylvester was diagnosed with AIDS. He used the time he had left to become a passionate crusader for those affected by the disease, advocating for the black community, affixing safe-sex pamphlets to his autographed pictures, visiting patients in hospital wards, and playing benefit shows to raise the public consciousness about the ravages of AIDS. He died of complications from the virus in 1988. He was only 41 years old.

    Today, Sylvester's boundary-breaking, genre- and gender-defying music remains as fresh and powerful as ever. Live at the Opera House promises to celebrate the arguable high point of of his live career in remarkable and comprehensive fashion. Overall, it boasts eight extended performances and four songs which are previously unreleased in any form. Joshua Gamson, author of the definitive biography The Fabulous Sylvester, provides the new liner notes, while the package also includes rare photos. The AAA-mastered, 3LP vinyl edition is pressed on purple vinyl and housed in a gatefold jacket. Digital versions will be available in both SD and HD. The extended "Body Strong" is streaming now on YouTube and other services.
    You'll find the track listing for Live at the Opera House, due on September 6, below.
    Sylvester, Live at the Opera House [[Craft Recordings/Fantasy, 2024)
    2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
    3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada

    1. Overture [[Grateful/You Make Me Feel [[Mighty Real)/Dance [[Disco Heat))
    2. Body Strong #
    3. Medley #1: Everything Must Change / You Are My Love *
    4. Medley #2: Could It Be Magic / A Song For You
    5. Blackbird / Sylvester Day Proclamation #
    6. Happiness #
    7. Lover Man [[Oh Where Can You Be?) #
    8. Sharing Something Perfect Between Ourselves #
    9. I [[Who Have Nothing) *
    10. You Are My Friend #
    11. Dance [[Disco Heat) #
    12. You Make Me Feel [[Mighty Real) #
    13. Overture [[Reprise) *
    14. Never Can Say Goodbye*

    Portions originally appeared on Living Proof, Fantasy LP F-79010, 1979
    [[*) previously unreleased
    [[#) extended performance

  2. #2

  3. #3

  4. #4
    At the end Sylvester says, "well we f that up didn't we" .... so I'm guessing his mic didn't work ...... but that's the challenge , the fun of LIVE ......you gotta go with the flow and glitches are part of the experience. It added something to what was heard here ...letting the Two Tons carry the tune...

    Quote Originally Posted by jack020 View Post
    a regret from having moved from SF for awhile during this time is having missed this extravaganza. [ I did get to attend Sylvester's self thrown birthday bash performance at The Castro theater a couple years later, it was fun, but I wouldn't call it an extravaganza].
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-06-2024 at 01:27 PM.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts


Ralph Terrana

Welcome to Soulful Detroit! Kindly Consider Turning Off Your Ad BlockingX
Soulful Detroit is a free service that relies on revenue from ad display [regrettably] and donations. We notice that you are using an ad-blocking program that prevents us from earning revenue during your visit.
Ads are REMOVED for Members who donate to Soulful Detroit. [You must be logged in for ads to disappear]
And have Ads removed.