Edelman: Little River Band, Brewer & Shipley Rock Uptown

Brewer & Shipley by Gary Graham

Brewer & Shipley by Gary Graham

If you thought creaky wooden chairs were the only things guys could rock past their 60s, you must have missed the goings-on at the Uptown Theater Saturday night, when the Little River Band played that fine room…

Who knew these old farts could rock?

Sure, LRB originals Glenn Shorrock and Graeham Goble – the cats who wrote most of their hits – are long gone from the band they put on the map. And senior bass player Wayne Nelson enjoyed the support of a passel of great young players. But Nelson held his own, crooning LRB’s sizable catalogue of hits, including his original lead vocal on their Top 10 Hit “Night Owls.”

It was a homecoming of sorts– Nelson was born back in 1950 right here in Kansas City.

Rhythm guitar player Greg Hind made sure there was an Aussie up there on stage– in case someone still confuses LRB harmonies with the Bee Gees. Ryan Ricks provided solid percussion work and filled the back up vocal slot effectively, along with keyboard player Chris Marion. Lead player Rich Herring just wailed, man. Together, they sounded great at the Uptown, which has got to be one of the best places to listen to name bands in Kansas City.

Little River band's Wayne Nelson by Gary Graham

Little River band’s Wayne Nelson by Gary Graham

Nelson guided LRB through top 40 anthems like “Happy Anniversary,” “Take It Easy On Me,” “Reminiscing” “Help Is On Its Way (with a tip of the cap to our servicemen overseas), “Cool Change” and a raucous “Lonsome Loser” to close out the proceedings. Interspersed were some tunes from Little River Band’s newest release– 38 years after they got started– entitled Cuts LIke a Diamond.

Opening the show were KC’s own Nace Brothers (sorry I missed ‘em) and everybody’s favorite folkies Brewer and Shipley. Two more old guys who know how to rock a room like the Uptown, Mike and Tom graced fans with foot stompin’ renditions of their greatest hits– “Shake Off the Demon,” the B&S version of Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and– of course–  “One Toke Over the Line.” A moody “Indian Summer” shared the bill with a tune from their 1993 release Shanghai entitled “Streets Of America.”

Looking like an Ozarks Peter Yarrow and a trimmer version of the Most Interesting Man in the World, Tom and Mike– along with Mike’s brother Keith on mandolin– reminded us all about being high school kids from Prairie Village, trying to grab some nookie between songs at the Vanguard. When they finished up with “Whitchi-Tai-To,” you could almost feel the smiling presence of deceased promoter Stan Plesser, collecting money at the door of his club on Main Street.

He’s another old guy who knew how to rock n roll.

Stan Plesser in London during the 1970s while representing the Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Stan Plesser in London during the 1970s while representing the Ozark Mountain Daredevils

 

 

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3 Responses to Edelman: Little River Band, Brewer & Shipley Rock Uptown

  1. PB says:

    I’m sorry, but no Glenn Shorrock means no LRB for me. At least not for the prices they were asking for this show. LRB is now best served as a free Old Shawnee Days (where I actually saw them a few years ago)-type festival act. And it’s a long way there, it’s a long way to where they’re going…Royals Stadium to the Uptown via Shawnee, KS.

  2. Carole Plesser says:

    Thanks for taking us down memory lane Mark, and your sweet words. You sure got that right about the good old days at The Vanguard and Stan certainly did know how to Rock & Roll.

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