Any Boston sports fan that has been around for a bit remembers Curt Schilling’s bloody sock from the 2004 World Series victory, the Sox’ first since, famously, 1918. While the image of the sock is connected to Sox lore, it’s also a symbol of fighting through adversity when you’re not 100% and the odds are stacked against you. Those moments, when instead of handing the ball to someone else, you take to the mound and perform at a high level, teach us a lot about the person.
While obviously hyperbole, that’s basically what happened with Shoffy at the Middle East in Boston on February 9th. With a sore throat so bad he was on antibiotics and had to cancel his pre-concert interview at Berklee School of Music, Shoffy took to the stage and delivered a captivating set. Shortly into his opener, “Different Skies”, audience members who wouldn’t have known about the affliction would have simply thought he was holding back. After his second number, “Motions”, he let on to the problem. “My throat’s a little iffy, he said. I’m from LA where it’s 70.”
You start to notice a break up theme after the fifth song of the night, “Movin On”, which is a crowd favorite. In “Against the World”, his live approach of using recorded tracks makes for an interesting dynamic of his currently challenged live voice and more boisterous recorded self. It’s a moment that reminds you of his full capability.
The audience sung along to several of his numbers, a sign that he has connected with a following. One of his biggest hits, “Cool Again”, was a highlight of his set.
Shoffy wrapped with “Takes My Body Higher” which had a bit of a club vibe. It was a testament to the breadth of his style and, having reached the end of the set, his perseverance.