Most pop singers from the 60s and 70s who are fortunate enough to still be touring resort to what I call vocal cheats. Thats when they get to a point in an old hit that has a particularly high note they cant hit a note that especially resonates with the baby-boomer audience so they either drop it an octave or turn it over to the background singers.
Theres nothing really shameful about these vocal cheats it would be worse, for instance, if Daryl Hall tried to hit that big release note in Shes Gone and failed miserably. Or if Roger Daltrey attempted to render the big scream in Wont Get Fooled Again and sounded like a frog.
I tell you all this because I saw Boz Scaggs last night at Ruth Eckerd Hall and he didnt resort to any vocal cheats. Hes 65 years old. Very impressive. When, on Lido Shuffle, it came time for the Lido, whoa, whoa part, he was right on it with the backup singers helping, yes, but not drowning him out and thus protecting him. Scaggs came up a little short or a little thin on some of the high notes, but he went for them all.
It wasnt just the lack of vocal cheats that made Scaggs 75-minute set in front of a near-sold-out crowd a success. His voice still has that full, creamy texture of the old days, and his delivery and phrasing brimmed with nuance. (more photos below; all are by Tracy May)