Okee dokee folks… We at Motif are going to start printing two issues per month again and I am excited! So much so, I cannot wait, so I am going to warm up to the two issue quota by writing a few extra online columns, starting with this one.
Last week I attended two great shows. Both acts are legends: Graham Nash and The Righteous Brothers. I photographed both so you can check out the pix on the Motif Facebook page. One of these acts you still have a chance to catch locally!
The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, started out performing together back in 1963 and had hits in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Unfortunately, original member Bobby Hatfield died in 2003. Medley continued on as a solo performer but in 2016 he invited singer Bucky Heard to join him and reform the duo. They have been working together constantly since, performing shows in Las Vegas and around the US. The Righteous Brothers will be in Rhode Island at The Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on Saturday, May 20 and I had a chance to preview the show last week in Plymouth, MA.
About 1,200 people made up the audience at Plymouth Memorial Hall when the legendary Righteous Brothers took the stage. The stellar band of guitar, bass, horns, drums, keys, and backing vocalists showed their stuff right out of the gate with their powerful accompaniment to “Hold On I’m Coming.”
Medley’s baritone and Heard’s tenor vocals blended just as well as Medley and Hatfield’s did in days past. Though they are recreating the Righteous Brother’s sound with a new voice they do not let the memory of Hatfield disappear for a minute. He is omnipresent throughout the evening. If there’s a rock and roll heaven then Bobby is surely smiling down on Bill for keeping the legacy alive. The ninety-minute show is thoroughly fun and entertaining. On top of performing hit after hit, they were quite funny! Bill and Bucky provide quick-witted banter between songs, while Medley recounts stories from his 60-year career.
Spontaneous standing ovations occurred many times throughout the evening in response to songs, singing, and solos. Medley paid homage to his late partner and took the lead on “Unchained Melody,” as old photos of The Righteous Brothers were projected onto the background screen. This was a moving moment for Medley and fans alike. The eighteen song set included “Rock and Roll Heaven,” “Soul and Inspiration,” “Little Latin Lupe Lu,” “Just Once in My Life,” and many other crowd-pleasers. Heard sang solo and delivered a show stopping version of Roy Orbison’s “Cryin.” Medley and one of the back up singers got the audience moving with the award winning, “Time of My Life.”
Usually Medley’s daughter duets with him on this but she was at home in Nashville, as he put it, “making him a grandpa.” Medley took the opportunity to let folks know that HE has had the time of his life playing music! At 82, Bill can still belt it out and proved this when he vocally dueled with a smoking guitar solo on his original blues number, “This Will Be The Last Time.” Closing out the show was one of the most popular songs to ever be played on radio, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” The Medley and Heard Righteous incarnation has truly captured the sound and feeling of the original duo and the audience obviously agreed with yet another standing ovation. Usually when I review a show it means you have missed your chance to see it. NOT THIS TIME! The Righteous Brothers will be at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket on May 20. If you have not had a chance to check out this venue, here is your chance. For more, “Ebb Tide” over to: stadiumtheatre.com You can also listen to my Roots Report Podcast with Bill Medley at MotifRI.com/RootsReportPodcast.
Nashing for 60 years
Sixty years of songs and stories is what Graham Nash brought to the Cabot Theatre in Beverly for his sold-out show on Thursday, May 11. Playing and singing along with Nash were Todd Caldwell on keys and Shane Fontayne on guitar. Graham Nash is famous for being the “N” in supergroup CSNY but got his start in the British band, The Hollies. Nash gave a nod to the Hollies with a performance of his song “Bus Stop.” Graham played though a twenty-three-song set that included covers of songs by his CSNY bandmates such as Neil Young’s “Country Girl,” and “Long May You Run,” Stephen Stills’ “4+20,” “Love the One You’re With,” and “Find the Cost of Freedom.” He also did an impressive version of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” He did not leave out paying tribute to the late David Crosby and spoke of him a few times during the night. “David’s passing has been hard for a lot of people… we finally started to talk again at the end of his life… we all expected him to leave a lot sooner than he did.”
Nash played “To the Last Whale… (A. Critical Mass B. Wind on the Water)” from the 1975 Crosby & Nash album. This song began with the prerecorded harmonies of “Critical Mass” followed by Nash performing “Wind on the Water” live on piano. Songs by Crosby’s son, James Raymond’s “Lay Me Down,” and a co-write, “Golden Days,” with guitarist Shane Fontayne, were also part of the set.
There were many stories between the songs and about the songs. Stories of Joni Mitchell, LSD trips, his “weirdest friend who used to drive a funeral car,” Neil Young, and so much more. Nash’s show really did cover sixty years of songs and stories and no matter what I write about this show I cannot appropriately express the feelings I experienced hearing the songs and stories. It was a night that was truly a privilege to be in the audience. The performance proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Graham Nash is a legend. There is a full set of photos from this show as well on the Motif Facebook page.
That’s it for now. Don’t forget you can listen to my podcasts at: MotifRI.com/RootsReportPodcast. You can also find my concert photographs at MotifRI.com/FuzeksFotos. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and listening. JohnFuzek.com