“In Their Own Words” Dar Lopez By SFL Music June 1, 2023 South Florida Concert Memories IN THEIR OWN WORDS We reached out to dozens of South Florida music personalities and industry veterans for their favorite South Florida concert memory. Stay tuned each month for many exciting stories! Want to share yours? E-Mail us at info@SFLMusic.com Koko Taylor at the Musician’s Exchange We have been so blessed here in South Florida with amazing concerts and shows of local ,regional, national and international acts that it makes it a little difficult to call out just one performance. I moved to Florida in 1986 for college from a town with 1 stop light in northern NY. Our closest concert venue for touring acts was in Syracuse NY, almost 2 hours away, or the colleges. While I was fortunate to see many of my favorites at the venues and several college shows, they were always in the “ nosebleed seats”. Still awesome and fun, but not the same as being within arm reach of your favorite singer. Here in South Florida, I was in live music utopia! Derek Trucks at Cheers when he was 13, Bo Diddley celebrating his 76th birthday at the Bamboo Room, The Cult at Sunrise Musical theater in the 90’s. Seeing Keb’ Mo’ get on stage with Otis Taylor at the end of Otis’ show at the Bamboo Room to get an electric banjo lesson, and Elvin Bishop at Boston’s on the Beach, Dave Shelly at Ohara’s, Marilyn Manson at Squeeze, BB King on NYE at Mizner Park, G. Love at the first Langerado Festival, and all the Riverwalk Blues Festivals. So many amazing shows but, Koko Taylor at the Musician’s Exchange, has to be the one I need to tell the story about. April 13th 1996. I had been hosting the” Sunday Blues with Dar” Sunday mornings on WKPX 88.5 FM for about 4 years. My musical taste is and always has been eclectic to say the least, but the blues had a big hold on me and still does. For my birthday that year The Queen of Blues, KOKO Taylor, was performing at the Musician’s Exchange. All I wanted for my birthday was to see and meet Koko. If you ever had the pleasure of going to the Musician’s Exchange on Sunrise Blvd. you know that the place was magic. Not much to look at, and you had to climb 2 dozen or so stairs to get to the club, but, that was not just a place to hear music, especially the blues, you actually felt part of it. Call and response was not wasted on the crowd there. The audience was packed with real blues lovers and local musicians who didn’t care if the AC was on the fritz, or they were out of something, they were there for the music. Don Cohen and “Uncle Shelly” Sheldon Voss created a musical oasis for true fans and the musicians knew it. The performances sometimes lasted way past their scheduled time, because the vibe was so cool. Koko and her band played their hearts out that night and Don Cohen made sure she knew it was my birthday and that I played her music on the radio. We Certainly “Pitched a Wang, Dang, Doodle” and she was gracious enough to sing Happy Birthday to me as her encore for the night. She told me to stick around so we could get a picture after the show. After the show we met her downstairs and she posed for several pictures, wished me a happy birthday and told me to keep playing the blues on the radio, because people need it. I held my end of the bargain for almost 3 decades. Hard to follow up that birthday celebration, surrounded by family, friends and the Queen of the Blues. DAR LOPEZ host of the Sunday Blues on WKPX from 1993-2015 Sunday Blues on Mix cloud 2015 – 2021 Co-producer – RWBMF 2013-2017 MC on LRBC 2004- present Artist Mgr. for Kat Riggins 2020 – present Share It!