Funky-Soul Weekend Successful at August Wilson Center


Morris Day, Alexander O’Neal, Confunkshun and
Bar-Kays shared two-day December showcase 

By Alexander Johnson
for Seventies Soul

PITTSBURGH, PA — The cold weather failed to deter funk and soul music fans from filling the seats at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center the weekend of Dec. 9/10, 2022.

In fact, at the Friday show, Morris Day made folks feel as if they were in a time-warp – considering this writer recalls Morris’ first performance in the Burgh, when the Tyme tore up the Stanley Theater stage back in the early 1980s. Some 40 years later, you gotta give Morris credit for maintaining his suavay and swagger, as they now say.

His vocal capacity has held-up thru the years and he still maintains a stage presence like no other, one that he created many years ago. At the Dec. 9 show, Morris along with another fellow who appeared to be “Jerome,” Morris’ able side-kick from back in the day, is apparently just a well-trained actor, who mimics the part of the original Jerome to a tee. Even still, the duo provided great entertainment for this mature audience – and generated no complaints throughout the evening. 

Credit Alexander O’Neal for a soulful rehash of his Minneapolis soulful sounds. He totally complemented Morris Day’s funky vibe on this night. 

On the following evening, Confunkshun and Bar-Kay’s offered a more ‘70s-flavored show that easily captivated the funky soul audiences who came to raise the roof. Felton Pilate and his horn section, complemented the super-soul lyrics of bandmate and lead singer/guitarist Michael Cooper.

Credit August Wilson CEO and booking manager, Janis Burley, for having insight in bringing notable black performers back to the ‘Burgh.

Bar-Kays played a setlist that proves why they’re considered soul music legends – first as the backing band for Otis Redding, and later as the backup band for Rufus Thomas at the iconic 1972 Wattstax concert and for recording with Isaac Hayes on his Grammy and Oscar award-winning Shaft album. Overall, it was an unforgettable weekend of funk and soul. And hopefully, there’s much more to come in the future.

In fact, look for soul crooner Peabo Bryson to headline at the Wilson Center on Saturday, February 11, 2022. For tickets call 412.339.1011.