Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Raspberries at B.B. King's 

Treating an adoring room of fans to a generous two-plus hours of visceral, pop-driven rock & roll, vocal melodies that sounded like they were lifted straight from records cut more than three decades ago, and musicianship that propelled a sturdy, shimmering bunch of songs to a new level of explosiveness, the original lineup of The Raspberries triumphantly kicked ass this past weekend in their first New York shows in more than 30 years.

Combining Beatles and Beach Boys style harmonies with sharp mod riffs a la the early Who and Kinks anthems, the 'berries scored four Top 40 hits from 1972 to '74 before the band fell apart and singer Eric Carmen pursued Adult Contemporary stardom with more than a little success. The band's breezy pop confections, especially the hits "Go All The Way" and "I Wanna Be With You," had few peers when they were released outside of the semi-popular Todd Rundgren and the super-obscure Big Star. Splitting the difference between Cheap Trick and (some people will give me hell for this comparison, but I swear it's apt and, moreover, nothing to be ashamed of) Meat Loaf, the band was just a few years ahead of its time.

Featuring all the hits and most of the key album tracks, and garnished with covers of '60s classics the boys cut their teeth on in their early days, The Raspberries' current stage show is the rare nostalgia fest that doesn't feel hokey, forced, or lame. Dignitaries in attendance Sunday included Jon Bon Jovi and Jeopardy! king Ken Jennings, as well as Hudson County rock glitterati like Maxwell's owner/booker Todd Abramson and WFMU DJ Joe Belock. Sweet.

Set list:
I Wanna Be With You
I Can’t Explain
Play On
Hard To Get Over A Heartbreak
Should I Wait
Nobody Knows
Makin' It Easy
If You Change Your Mind
Party’s Over
Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)
I Can Remember
It Seems So Easy
Let’s Pretend
Last Dance
It’s Cold Outside
I Don't Know What I Want

first encore:
Please, Mr. Postman
You're Gonna Lose That Girl
Twist & Shout
I’m A Rocker
Go All The Way

second encore:
Slow Down
Roll Over Beethoven

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