House of Blues Cleveland, Ohio
11 May 2006
Every so often the House of Blues books an act that was popular either in Cleveland or nationally or both back in the good old 70’s or 80’s. Some of these acts have gone on to bigger things, many haven’t. All face the challenge of making material at least twenty years old sound fresh, performing songs with enthusiasm even after doing them thousands of times. The House of Blues shows in this genre over the last year or so have, for the most part, been enjoyable and given enthusiastic audiences what they wanted, shows by the Outlaws, Little Feat, and Tom Jones come to mind. Add a fine show by Eddie Money and his band last Thursday to the list.
The best thing he did was opening with “Two Tickets to Paradise,” his signature tune and the one that broke him nationally in the late 70’s. It got the audience in the right frame of mine, and also eliminated any drunks in the crowd requesting it over and over, which use to happen when he saved it for one of his encores. He strutted on stage with the aura of a lounge singer, tie and sport coat and swinging along like Bobby Darin. The audience joined in on the chorus, and the agenda for the evening was set.
The audience loved it as the hits kept coming, including “I think I’m in Love,” “Com’n, Com’n,” and “Life for the Taking.” The concert went up a notch when Money brought out the sax during “Can’t Go Back,” and his lounge singer façade was cracked by some sincere smiles and self deprecating jokes about his past drug rehab experiences, and politicking for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame spot.
The rest of the show was filled with more of his past hits, the best being those with natural audience participation like “Take Me Home, Tonight,” “Walk on Water,” “Baby Hold On,” and “Shakin’.”,
“The only really new material, and one of the highlights of the evening, was Eddie and the band’s first ever public performance of the Eddie Arnold 1950’s standard “You Don’t Know Me.” Which sounded pretty good, with Money adding a nice harmonica solo or two. It is featured on Money’s new album “Wanna Go Back,” containing cover tunes he did with his first bands as a teenager on Long Island in the 60’s.
Backing Eddie Money, and doing a good job, was his long time band with Tommy Girvin on lead guitar, Lee Beverly on bass, Chris Frazier on drums, and Randy Forester on keyboards.
Once again fans in their mid-thirties to early-fifties were treated to a fine show by some old road warriors at the House of Blues. As always, after the show Money and his band hung around the lobby until every ticket stub and old album cover were autographed, and every photo was taken. The fans enjoyed the show, and the band appreciated an enthusiastic and faithful audience, hopefully remembering all the times over the years fans in Northern Ohio helped pay the bills, during the good and lean days.