The Otis Redding tribute on Monday evening was a somber, respectful affair. Marking the 40th anniversary of the great soul singer's death in the Lake Monona plane crash that also claimed the lives of all but one of the Bar-Kays, the event drew a large crowd to Monona Terrace and featured an appearance by the tragedy's sole survivor, the trumpeter Ben Cauley, who was in Madison for the first time since that terrible night.
Opening with local guitarist Robert J. and harmonica virtuoso Westside Andy's respectful cover of the Redding classic "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," the event was marked by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's reading of a memorial proclamation. But the highlight had to be Cauley's appearance.
The trumpeter has gone on to become one of the cornerstones of the Memphis music scene. Dressed to the nines for his appearance at Monona Terrace, Cauley offered some brief reflections on the crash and its aftermath before he launched into an emotional cover of another Redding hit, "Try a Little Tenderness," followed by a version of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" that was downright heart-breaking.
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