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Five thoughts: Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (June 9, the Pearl)

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Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings shook the crowd to its core at the Pearl June 9.
Photo: Corlene Byrd
Jason Harris

1. The Dap Kings started their first Vegas show by playing an instrumental number to get the crowd in the groove. Background singers Saun & Starr then tackled two of their own songs. Then guitarist Binky Griptite introduced Sharon Jones as “the brightest star in the Daptone Soul Universe.” This, of course, is the proper way to begin a proper throwback soul revue.

2. The Dap Kings slid into James Brown territory with a funky riff on “I’m Not Gonna Cry.” During one of her dances, Jones announced, “That’s my Tina Turner leg-moving thing,” but clearly, her reverence for Las Vegas resident Gladys Knight exceeds her other influences. Covers of “Every Beat of My Heart” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” were true to the Knight renditions—and just as legit.

3. Jones’ “100 Days, 100 Nights” is a great album cut, but the live version is played with extra ferocity. The mid-song slowdown makes you feel every bit of emotion the singer pours out.

4. A typically lackadaisical Vegas audience had no choice but to stand in appreciation for the 59-year-old and her shimmering magenta dress during “Get Up and Get Out.” The song took on new meaning for Jones after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Now cancer-free, she sang an inspired version, shaking the crowd to its core.

5. After that song Jones said, “Every night I get onstage … could be my last night. So I’m gonna give you everything I have.” That she did, and we were lucky to have it.

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