ALBANY, Ga. -- If the opportunity to see soul/R&B greats Maze, the Manhattans, Sir Charles Jones, Wilson Meadows and Juice perform as part of one bill isn't enough incentive for music fans to attend Saturday's R&B/Soulfest 2 at the Albany Civic Center, businessman Gilbert Udoto offers a more compelling reason.
"This may be the very last time the people in Albany have an opportunity to see Frankie Beverly perform," Udoto said of the legendary frontman for Maze. "We had to talk him into coming back one more time, so that's generating a lot of interest in the show.
"It's really amazing the response we're getting outside Albany for this show. I'd say more than half the advance tickets we've sold were bought from out of town."
Udoto said R&B/Soulfest 2 follows last year's successful premiere production, which was held in conjunction with the city of Albany's annual Snickers Marathon/Mardi Gras weekend. This year's show is being presented by Just-Rite Auto Sales and Udoto's Odyssey Records.
"The date for last year's Mardi Gras celebration was moved up a week, so this year we'll be doing the show a week after," Udoto, who is promoting the show, said. "I think the fact that we've got the weekend to ourselves -- plus the exposure we got from last year's SoulFest -- is going to help bring people to the show."
Rising from the streets of San Francisco, Maze is best known for classics that include "While I'm Alone," "Lady of Magic," "Running Away," "Before I Go," "Too Many Games," "Workin' Together" and the No. 1 smashes "Back in Stride" and "Can't Get Over You." The silky soul of co-headliners the Manhattans, who feature Gerald Alston and Blue Lovett, is most apparent on songs like favorites "There's No Me Without You," "Don't Take Your Love," "I Kinda Miss You," the No. 5 hit "Shining Star" and their Pop/R&B No.1 "Kiss and Say Goodbye."
Jones, Meadows and Juice are favorites on the national soul/blues circuit, Jones best known for his albums "Love Machine," "A Southern Soul Party" and "My Story," and Meadows for "Memories," "Dealing Real" and "Go on and Cry."
Tickets for the 7 p.m. show, which are VIP and reserved only, are available at Odyssey Records, the Sandtrap Lounge, Just-Rite Auto Sales, the Albany Civic Center box office and at all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets may also be purchased by calling (229) 436-9910 or (229) 317-7217. Prices are $39, $49 and $59 for VIP tickets.
A cash bar will be available at the civic center.
"Let everyone know there will be plenty of liquid refreshments this year," Udoto said. "Last year the crowd was so big we ran out. I've been assured that won't happen this year.
"People need to get their tickets early because we only have a few of the VIP tickets left."
Saturday's show will be hosted by MC DC and Shabooty.