Garry Tallent is moonlighting.  

Tallent’s boss is “The Boss” as he is an original member of the  E Street Band.  However, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bassist recently released his first solo album Break Time and he is out touring this spring to support this great rockabilly album.  He and his incredible band of musicians made a stop at the Kent Stage on Friday evening and proceeded to put on an old school rock-and-roll review.  The night was full of rockabilly originals and some incredible cover songs.

Taking center stage and strapping on an electric guitar had to be a little unnerving for the typically- stoic bassist.  However, he looked very comfortable singing and playing lead guitar on most of the tunes.  His band included a multi-instrumentalist, Fats Kaplin, who played the fiddle, squeezebox, lap steel guitar, and acoustic guitar; guitarist Eddie Angel; Dave Roe on stand up bass; Jimmy Lester on drums; Kevin Mckendree on keyboards and Kristi Rose who served as a backup singer who also sang lead on a couple of tunes.

That was the theme throughout the show as he allowed each band member a moment in the spotlight.  “One of the perks of working for a bass player is being the bass player in his band,”  said Roe as he brought his stand up bass to center stage and sang “Hillbilly Train.”  

Kaplin also got a turn to show his guitar skills on the instrumental “Rampage.”

Tallent also was also very jovial with the Kent audience.  After having some difficulty tuning his guitar after switching instruments, he quipped “I’m used to having someone do this for me.  This is kinda humbling.”  

Later in the show, Tallent was looking down at the set list to see what he was going to play next.  Kristi Rose said “It’s not like you’re following that list anyway.”  Tallent responded “I have a very bad mentor!”  Bringing to mind how Springsteen often audibles during a live show,  often straying away from the set list.

Some songs from his new album that were in the set included: “Ants In Her Pants,” the Chuck Berry inspired “Why Do You Do Me Like That,” “Tell Em I’m Broke” and a song co written by Southside Johnny “Stay Away.”

A couple of instrumental covers were played as well.  The Ventures’ “Walk Don’t Run” and the Shadows’ “Apache” were played note for note.

How could an E Street Band member play a solo show without playing a Springsteen song?  Tallent didn’t disappoint as he mentioned that this song was a favorite of Clarence Clemons.  Then he got to thinking and said “I realized that it was Clarence’s favorite because there is no saxophone in it!”  With that the band played “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come).”

This rock and roll review came to a close with Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell.”  It was a great night of fun rock and roll and rockabilly and Tallent and his band delivered the goods!

Shun Ng opened the show with some impressive guitar work.   Playing an acoustic guitar and using some skat techniques with his voice on some tunes, Ng had the audience’s full attention.  After playing a few tunes off of his CD Funky Thumb Stuff, Shun launched into a great rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”  He closed his act with an impressive version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” singing all the vocal parts and playing the guitar flawlessly.

This young guitarist should be on your radar;  he’s going to be one to watch in the future.  


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Greg Drugan has been attending concerts since 1982 and has seen everyone from AC/DC to ZZ Top. Classic rock is his forte, but he is also well versed in alternative and pop music. When not attending concerts, Greg can be found teaching history, psychology and the history of rock n roll at a rural high school where he also serves as the head track coach. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with his family.