Sharon Jones took to the stage at Davies Symphony Hall on Saturday night with all the energy of fourth-grade recess on a sunny afternoon. Not that she seems to ever take the stage in any other way, but it was the right approach for a big show in a big room.
After all, her sold-out concert with the Dap-Kings at the Symphony was a prestigious booking that spoke to her ever-increasing popularity over the past few years, a reputation that has been steadily earned through the infectious soulfulness and old-school cool of her dynamic live performances.
Saturday night’s show was the perfect showcase of Sharon and company at their best, not because it was a slam-dunk, but because they had to earn in. For as grand of a setting as Davies Symphony Hall can be, it proved more than a bit stilted early in the night, as the diverse audience remained seated and awkward in their space. A dance floor was in order for this performance, if not an out-and-out hefty dose of sweaty, drunken rowdiness. In this regard, the venue was at a disadvantage for what was taking place in its confines.
But Jones didn’t seem to be concerned in the least, and blazed through a 15-song set that increasingly set off pockets of dancing throughout the building, and steadily drew enthralled audience members down the aisles, revival-like, to the front of the stage. By the time the Dap-Kings laid into the opening of “100 Days, 100 Nights,” the entire hall was fully transformed into an appropriately matched dance party.
Indeed, if there had been any question as to how Jones and the Dap-Kings made it to the Symphony, the scores of people dancing their asses off in the aisles was answer enough.