Review of the Mavis Staples Concert at Mondavi Center in Davis, CA

Real Estate Agent with Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker DRE #00697006

Mondavi Center in Davis, CAMy husband and I had the pleasure last Wednesday of attending the Mavis Staples show at the Mondavi Center in Davis, California. If you're reading this and you're not from around here -- here being Sacramento -- you are in for a treat if Mavis Staples comes to your town. Some of you of a certain age will remember the Staple Singers from the 1950s and 1960s, and already know what a treasure, a blessed honor it is to hear Mavis belt out her heart.

She's part soul (R&B), part rock-and-roll and part gospel. I am particularly attracted to her music because her roots in the Civil Rights movement remain strong. She was a friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, for crying out loud, and performed concerts for him; she's a walking American icon and integral to history in America.

Mavis opened her first show in 2009 in Davis, California, with "For What It's Worth," a 1967 song written by Stephen Stills and performed back then by the Buffalo Springfield. You know how it goes: "Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear." She followed with "Down in Mississippi," and hearing those sultry Southern blues had me believing she was actually born in Mississippi. But I believe she was born July 10, 1939 in Chicago. Her father, "Pop" Staples, on the other hand, was born in Mississippi.

About halfway through the show, Mavis removed her shoes.
It must have been difficult for a woman of her age and stature to stand in high heels for such a long time; I know I couldn't do it. She just laughed and said she felt at home on that stage, so it was OK to kick off those heels, and it was certainly OK with the audience. We were all mesmerized by her performance.

Then she plunged into her hit from the early 1970s, "Respect Yourself." From my perspective, it seemed a bit out of place, delivering that message to the mostly white, over 40, liberal crowd at Mondavi Wednesday night. But all of us need to remember that message at various points in our lives. In the middle of that number, Mavis spelled out the word r-e-s-p-e-c-t and then chuckled, "Oh, no, I ain't gonna mess with Aretha," as though Aretha Franklin might have been sitting in the audience and ready to grab the microphone away from her. But I know what she means, and I suspect you do, too.

Mavis brought along her sister, Yvonne Staples, for back-up along with Donny Gerrard and Chavonne Morris on background vocals. Three other guys rounded out the band: Rick Holmstrom on lead guitar, Jeff Turmes on bass and Stephen Hodges on drums. The most spectacular and talented by far absolutely was Rick Holmstrom. Holmstrom made his guitar sing on a level comparable to Jimi Hendrix. It blew me away.

One of my favorite protest songs of all time is "We Shall Overcome," and I would have traded the commission on my last two escrows to have heard her perform that song, but Mavis did one even better: "We Shall Not Be Moved." She talked about walking into a restaurant in the South in the 1960s with a group of friends and being ordered to leave. The waitress refused to serve them. But they locked arms and began to sing We Shall Not Be Moved when the police arrested them. It put a lump in my throat and brought tears to my eyes when the familiar refrain filled the Center for Performing Arts at Mondavi. Probably because these aren't just stories to me.

Did you know that the Staple Singers were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999? They were called "God's greatest hit-makers." One of the encore numbers had the audience standing, clapping and singing along to "I'll Take You There." It's one of those feel-good numbers that resonates.

Just like Mavis Staples. She crawls under your skin, ever so delicately, and reminds you that we're all part of the same world and responsible for passing on that message. Don't ever give up the fight for equality and human rights.

Elizabeth Weintraub Land Park Real Estate Agent in Sacramento

The Short Sale Savior, coming to a bookstore near you in February.

Photo: Mondavi Center for Performing Arts in Davis, CA by Big Stock Photo

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Elizabeth Weintraub is co-partner of Weintraub & Wallace Team of Top Producing Realtors, an author, home buying expert at The Balance, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown, Carmichael and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put our combined 80 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at RE/MAX Gold. DRE License # 00697006.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of RE/MAX Gold. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to

Comments (8)

Terry & Bonnie Westbrook
Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner - Grand Rapids, MI
Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re

Sounds like a great evening of entertainment. Does she travel to other parts of the country to perform?

Jan 18, 2009 03:29 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hi Terry: Mavis is on tour for 2009, coming to Evanston, IL, on Monday, then on to Florida, Canada, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, Vermont and a bunch more tours throughout California. If you get a chance to this legend, you won't be disappointed.

Elizabeth Weintraub Land Park Real Estate Agent in Sacramento

Jan 18, 2009 06:17 AM
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Okay, Elizabeth, do a Steven Smith and insert a video so we can see Mavis.  I've never heard of her.  Or.....I guess I could go to youtube myself.  : )

Jan 18, 2009 09:03 AM
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


Loks like you really enjoyed the concert. As a realtive newcomer in the country, I do not know her, but following your advice I found her Down the Mississippi on Youtube. Thanks for educating me. (hope I did not hijack your post)

Jan 18, 2009 09:50 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Elizabeth - I'm still mourning the fact that I missed Woodstock.

Jan 18, 2009 10:10 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

For you, Barbara, Mavis Staples I'll Take You There, Central Park 2008. But for a super-duper treat, catch her guitarist, Rick Holmstrom. This guy is phenomenal!!! I kid you not. He is one helluva guitar player.

Hi Jon: You can hijack anytime. :)

Hi Myrl: You and me both. Hey, at least I made it to the Bloomington Festival in the spring of 1970. 3 days. Waking up in the only dry corner of the tent at 4 AM hearing BB King's guitar echoing in the early morning air: The Thrill is Gone. Ah, the good ol' days.

Elizabeth Weintraub Land Park Real Estate Agent in Sacramento

Jan 18, 2009 10:37 AM
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

That's more like it Elizabeth and Jon!!  Great videos.  I'll bet she puts on a fantastic show because she seems to interact with the audience.  LIving where you do, you have so many great events to attend.  In your next life, you're assigned to Searcy Arkansas!!  That guitar guy was GOOD!

Jan 18, 2009 11:23 AM
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Hi Elizabeth, I was just leaving your most recent blog when I happen to notice a link on the your blogroll that caught my eye, Mavis Staples at the Mondavi Center. First of all what a beautiful center, secondly I do remember the great Staple singers and the songs they made about what was going on at the time, truly inspiring and enlightening. I got chills just think about her opening with "For What it's worth." 


Jun 15, 2012 12:12 AM