Joe Walsh Spends “All Night Long” Thrilling Fans in Holmdel, NJ
Review by Danny Coleman + Photos by Rose Martin Barbaree
June 11, 2016 | Holmdel, NJ – New Jersey is often the butt of many jokes, fodder for comics and script writers alike as the “Garden State” resides in the shadows of New York City and Philadelphia; both of which often dominate the news, sporting and music events of the day. However, on the night of June 11 in Holmdel, NJ; the PNC Bank Center was the focus as Joe Walsh and his 10 piece unit took the stage to thunderous applause.
Starting at 9:13 p.m. with “Walk Away,” after a killer opening set from Bad Co.; one could tell that Walsh was in good form from the outset. Utilizing two drummers, two keyboard players, a guitarist, bassist and four background singers; Joe looked like he was legitimately having fun from that first recognizable stroke of the fret board.
“Analog Man” was up next off of the 2012 album of the same name, followed by “Mother Says.” off of the ’72 album “Barnstorm.” Prior to that offering, Walsh remarked with tongue in cheek, how it was a, “Lovely night for a concert;” no doubt do to the sweltering, humid conditions of a June evening in Jersey. The approximate 20,000 in attendance didn’t seem to mind sweating it out as Joe played some mean slide guitar on a string of James Gang selections; “The Bomber: Closet Queen/Bolero/Cast Your Fate to the Wind.”
After a brief silence due to Walsh adorning an acoustic six string; he uttered this simple statement, “This is for GlenFrey, my brother, my band mate” and the band broke into the Eagles classic, “Take It To the Limit.” Easily stealing the show was backing vocalist Rickey Washington as his soulful, yet accurate recreation/interpretation of the verses was not only moving but downright riveting as well.
Returning to “Barnstorm” for “Turn To Stone,” Walsh demonstrated why guitarists the world over have emulated his style as he ripped off lick after lick; drawing applause multiple times throughout.
Upon its completion, Joe took a moment to introduce his band mates as well as partake in some good nature ribbing of several of those who support him on stage. None of them seemed to mind as Walsh’s stage demeanor was that of a man who enjoys his work and by the reactions of his fellow players; they love performing with him as well.
Returning to his Eagle’s catalog, he reached back to the immensely popular “Long Run” album for “In The City,” which brought a huge roar from the throngs of fans who seemed to be enthralled by the second of several trips he took back to his former band’s repertoire.
Once again, Walsh showed his humorous side. A side that surfaced multiple times throughout the evening, by prefacing the next offering with, “If ya’ have to pee, ya’ better go now” and as the familiar treble laden, string bending notes of “Funk 49” split the night air; the all to familiar eruption of applause seemed to rise to an even higher decibel level. Normally the percussion driven mid-section which highlights this composition is a given but on this tour or perhaps maybe just this night; Joe changed things up a bit. Rather than drums and cowbells and hoots and hollers; the drummers played a funky, almost Latin rhythm as his band formed a semi-conga line on stage and he shuffled to the pulse of the beat. After the party ended, the signature lick returned and the balance of the tune raced hard to its conclusion.
Taking a short moment to catch their collective breaths, Walsh offered up a brief yet entertaining explanation for what was next on the list, “This started as an intimate love song,” he stated in a mellow tone but in typical Joe fashion he followed that up with, “But then I fell asleep and this is what ya’ get.” “Life’s Been Good” sent the masses into the equivalent of a feeding frenzy as those who weren’t standing by now had no choice but to vacate their seats and join the sing along which ensued. Managing to get perhaps the first line out of his mouth without accompaniment, the rock ‘n’ roll patrons took over and didn’t stop until they ran out of song to sing.
Sensing that he had them right where he wanted them, Walsh put the petal to the metal and broke into “Life In the Fast Lane,” sending the already revved up crowd’s engine towards overheating and as the final chords rang out, it was as if Walsh was merely toying with them; saying good night yet knowing full well that he still had unfinished business to attend to.
Once the lights dimmed and the applause grew louder, Walsh didn’t keep anyone waiting as he returned within a minute; this time with E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt in tow. The Jersey audiences who feel they have the right of ownership to their native sons, showed their appreciation by explosive applause and the groaning “Bruuuce” chant that accompanies “The Boss” wherever he goes; or in this case doesn’t go. With some musical instruction and a smile, “Rocky Mountain Way” and its deliberate start had all who demanded, “One more” swaying to the beat. Little Steven in the background plucking away and slamming power chords at the appropriate moments only adding to the fervor.
A second encore of (ironically enough) “All Night Long” ended the evening on a high note at 10:41 p.m. EST and left many in the PNC Bank Center drained and hoarse. Cathy Turner and Eileen Woll drove down together from Staten Island, NY and were thrilled with their decision to do so. “I came here for Joe,” said an enthusiastic Turner. “I’m sorry that I missed seeing the Eagles but they don’t make’em like Joe anymore!” Woll had a different take, “I came to see both. I really like Bad Company and this was really great!”
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Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)
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