Keyboardist and co-lead singer Lawrence Gowan is a great entertainer. He is in constant motion by either singing, dancing, spinning his keyboards around, or playing behind his back. Tommy Shaw still has his youthful looks and his voice and guitar playing is top notch. Original member James “J.Y.” Young can play the guitar with the best of them and he also got to sing lead on a few numbers. Former Bad English and Babys bassist Ricky Phillips and long time drummer Todd Sucherman completed the rhythm section.
After playing “Blue Collar Man” and “The Grand Illusion,” the band slowed things down by playing “Lady.” Afterwards, J.Y. noted that the song was their first number one hit and it came out during the Ford administration.
Tommy Shaw mentioned how things come full circle. He remembered putting out albums and 8-tracks and then things changed to CDs and now downloads and streaming are popular. However, he said that their new record will actually be put out on vinyl because that format has made a resurgence.
A beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” featured Shaw and Gowan trading lines while they played the acoustic guitar and keys respectively. Another great cover tune, “I am the Walrus” saw Gowan sing lead and the band recreate the music note for note.
The second half of the show became a greatest hits barrage and sing-a-long as “Snowblind,” “Fooling Yourself” and “Too Much Time On My Hands” were played in succession.
The band took a break while Gowan played the keys as he told the audience that “We are going to build a pyramid of classic rock.” He then led the crowd along to sing parts of “Rocket Man,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Golden Slumbers” which eventually led to “Come Sail Away.” The latter tune featured original member Chuck Panazzo take over bass duties.
The encore consisted of “Rockin’ The Paradise” and “Renagade” which fulfilled the cravings of classic rock in Youngstown.
A great new band from Nashville called Levon opened the show. This three man band features two acoustic guitarists, a bassist and incredible vocal harmonies. This band is a throwback to early ‘70s bands like the Eagles, CSNY and America. Mixed in their set of original tunes was a great cover of “One of These Nights.”
This trio impressed the Youngstown crowd with their crisp playing and amazing vocals. After their last tune “Give Up,” the audience showed their appreciation by giving them a standing ovation.
If you are a fan of the California rock sound of the early ‘70s, please check out Levon at www.levonthemusic.com. You can also download their new EP which was just released Thursday night.