LiV Warfield is the latest in a long line of musicians who have been given the nod by Prince. And this is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing. As one of NPG’s backing singers for the last five years, she’s learnt first hand from the Master Genius of performance and musicianship.
And it shows. She played at BB Kings last weekend and the rumor mill was grinding hard that Prince was going to show up and perform, but although I was told after the show that he’d been in the room watching, he didn’t grace the public with his presence. Not that he was needed as the remarkable Mz Warfield more than made up for the lack of her mentor on stage.
This was a show in the greatest sense of the word. Choreographed moves ripped from the James Brown playbook took centre stage along with killer songs written by Warfield (and one, the fantastic title track of her new album, The Unexpected, written by Prince). She has one of those mighty old school R&B voices that rips up a room and raises the roof wherever she sings. On top of which she is currently touring with her great band led by the excellent Ryan Waters on guitar and the NPG Hornz, an eleven piece brass ensemble that was started by Prince in 1991 and in its current formation has been playing together since 2012.
I did a very quick five minute session with her in the service elevator just before she went on stage, which is the first picture here. The rest of the images were taken in sequence throughout the show. The day after the show Rolling Stone ran one of my pictures in their Hottest Live Shots of 2014 Gallery, which Prince retweeted a couple of days later.
If you get a chance, go see this phenomenal force of nature and you are guaranteed to walk away with a smile. I’ve embedded a couple of recent TV performance at the end of the pictures so you can get an idea of just how great this woman is and what an amazing show this unique ensemble creates.