Alivia and the Elite Blues Band kicked off my musical experience of 2015 in the sixth Rooftop Rhythms blues-centric musical venture, "50 Shades of Blues", at the Saadiyat Beach Club's De La Costa bar and lounge in Abu Dhabi. Blues being right up my musical alley, I was happy to find a dedicated local event for this genre (which seems to be even more rare here than jazz).
Alivia's powerful, broad-ranged vocals and engaging showmanship were backed by the Elite Blues Band's drummer Terrence and keyboardist Robert, the latter of whom also took over lead vocals now and then. Songs performed that night on the club's beachfront terrace ranged across blues, soul and R&B genres, beginning with some light, playful numbers like "Voodoo Woman" and "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On". Later on, Robert showed us how it's done in Hammond mode when "Down Home Blues" came up in the playlist.
In the second set, audience participation began in earnest as Alivia took on a fan request and expertly rendered the Bobby Womack classic "Harry Hippie" -- a song that provided ample opportunities for a microphone pass-around. Closing a fun night of great musical performance with an enthusiastic crowd, the third and final set included popular hits like "I'll Be Around", progressively drawing people onto the dance floor, and pushing the night into the line dancing phase (obliging even bisinistrapedal me to give it a shot).