Rhythm and blues legend Al Green promises to “shower the ladies with roses” when he performs Thursday night in Iowa City. The concert is one of the kick-off events for the inauguration of Governor-elect Chet Culver. Green, his back-up musicians, and 19 dancers will start the concert with the song “I Can’t Stop.”
“We’ll do a little bit of everything, a little bit of ‘Amazing Grace,’ then Al goes into ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by throwing roses like a madman,” Green says, talking about himself in the third person. “Then everybody’s trying to get a rose and ‘It’s mine.’ ‘No, he gave it to me’and all that.” Green does not have political advice for the new governor.
But Green says he hopes his music carries a universal message. “I hope it’s ‘Love and Happiness’ and ‘Let’s Stay Together’ because those are the two that really epitomize what we are doing, have done and are really going to do,” Green says. The concluding song in an Al Green concert is “Love and Happiness” and Green, who is an ordained pastor, says it’s ultimately about not only reconciliation with the people in this world, but reconciliation with God as well.
Green is performing all over the world, with stops in Paris, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland and Canada as well as the U.S. last year. He’s working on a new C.D. and collaborating with younger artists like Alicia Keyes and d’Angelo. “And I hope I can do one with R. Kelly because I like his ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ song,” Green says. “I’m doing it in the old Jimi Hendrix studio ‘The Electric Lady.’ They remodeled it and spent about $29 million and it is gorgeous now.”
Culver says the concert is a gift to his wife, Mari, Iowa’s next First Lady. Green says he intends to give Mrs. Culver a “great big beautiful red rose.”