March 28, 2016 The Marshall Tucker Band Celebrate Longevity At The Paramount Huntington, NY 3-19-16 W/ Stolen Rhodes
For over forty years South Carolina based The Marshall Tucker Band has been one of Southern Rock’s top acts. First debuting with their self-titled studio album back in 1973, which included the hit single “Can’t You See,” The Marshall Tucker Band would go on to release many studio and live albums over the next few decades, to positive acclaim. While several different lineups have lent their talents to their incredible history, Vocalist Doug Gray has been through it all, leading the band which currently includes Marcus James Henderson (keyboard/flute/saxophone), Rick Willis (guitar/vocals), Chris Hicks (guitar/vocals), Pat Elwood (bass/vocals), and B.B. Borden (drums). Known as a legendary live band, they continue to stay on the road in 2016, keeping the tradition of their music alive with their Long Hard Ride Tour, which kicked off February 18th.
Considered to be the 45th anniversary of the band as a live act, the tour will continue all year long with dates scattered through the country to celebrate the special achievement. As the band continues to tour extensively, the group made a trip to The Paramount in Huntington, New York on Saturday, March 19th. A venue which they have made stops at in the past, the last time they made the trip out was in March of 2015, and a packed room returned a year later for another night of music they will soon not forget.
As fans both young and old filed into the venue, Long Island’s own Kevin Edmond Burke and his band took to the stage to greet the crowd. Clearly showing inspiration from greats such as Paul McCartney and Billy Joel, Burke lured fans in with tracks off his recently released Waiting Season. At only twenty years old, the musician showed an infinite amount of potential as he took to the keyboard and guitar while leading the way on vocals for the live band. Expect big things for the young musician in the future as he and the band continue to tour throughout 2016.
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With the crowd warmed up, it was time for the energetic Stolen Rhodes to take their turn under the bright lights. Named for two separate instances involving a Rhode keyboard’s misplacement, Stolen Rhodes are everything Rock fans can ask for of a band. Hardworking and talented, the band is lead by Matt Pillion (vocals/guitar, piano, saxophone) and backed by the equally skilled Dan Haase (bass, vocals), Kevin Cunningham (guitar, vocals), as well as Eric Skye (drums). Put together, they are a group of musicians that make up a sound deriving from a wide variety of genres including the Dropkick Murphy’s, and of course the headlining Marshall Tucker Band. In fact, The Marshall Tucker Band’s Gray later in the night would rightly praise Stolen Rhodes for their their talents. Praise aside, the band with roots in New Jersey and Pennsylvania showed no signs of being complacent as they made their way to the stage, ready to rock.
Opening with “Prophet,” the band immediately attracted fans with their Southern Rock charm. Continuing their set with “Life Was Never Finer” and “Down in Flames,” they continued to build on the energy level, as fans started dancing along with the music. Whether on guitar, saxophone, or the brief moments spent on the keyboard, Pillion’s talents were on display in full force and he led this foursome through their entertaining set as they moved on with “Save Me” and “Keeps Me Alive.” Before concluding, Pillion proudly exclaimed that he had reached his favorite part of the show and went on to introduce each member of the band. After each member took a few moments to soak in some cheers, they closed out with the song “So Long.”
Following their performance, the men enjoyed a standing ovation before making their way to their merchandise booth to sign autographs, pose for photos, and converse with fans interested to know more about the band. Stolen Rhodes is everything listeners and critics are saying about them and then some. Their most recent EP, Slow Horse, is out now, and the band is primed for big things, with many tour dates ahead in 2016.
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With everyone feeling relaxed, drinks in hand, and having a good time, the lights dimmed as Gray and The Marshall Tucker band prepared to take the stage. Greeted with a standing ovation and loud roar from the crowd, Gray and company took their places on the stage, ready to start the show. With a tambourine in his hand, Gray led the group into “This Ol’ Cowboy” as the rest of his bandmates were off to the races. Thereafter, Hicks took over on vocals as the band continued with his 2008 solo song “Dog Eat Dog World,” with Gray again on tambourine, while Henderson was able to show off his various talents on the flute, saxophone, and keyboard. Hicks continued to lead the way with the classic “Fire on the Mountain” before “Take the Highway,” which ended with a powerful drum solo as Borden dazzled fans with an incredible display of skill. Borden was later commended by Gray for his continued sobriety and the humble drummer rose for a standing salute to the congratulatory crowd.
Keeping the grooves coming, Gray returned on lead as he introduced a song the band does not normally perform with 1977’s “Desert Skies.” A more mellow piece, the track served well to captivate the Long Island crowd and offer something special. With Hicks singing on “Midnight Promises,” the band kicked into high gear following with another oldie, “Hillbilly Band.” Engaging and having a good time, Gray had some fun with the audience pointing out a beautiful blonde in the front row that had been dancing along and exclaimed, “That, right there, is what we call trouble,” shooting a wink over to the excited fan. Keeping the set interesting, they dedicated their next track to a local Long Island journalist in attendance celebrating his 5,000th career article as they went into 1974’s “Blue Ridge Mountain Sky.”
As supporting act Stolen Rhodes alluded to fans who visited their merchandise booth, the band was given the nod to return to the stage with The Marshall Tucker Band for an epic grand finale. Wrapping up the night, the two bands rocked out with an extended version of the aforementioned hit song “Can’t You See” with a bit of War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends” thrown in. Fans in the seated sections abandoned their seats and joined in singing along as Gray pointed his microphone in their direction. Some spectators used cell phones to record the performance while others danced with each other in the aisles. As the song wound down, fans grew concerned the night was also fading out. Chants for one more song came raining down as Gray quickly thanked them before saying, “Yeah, let’s do one more song! I ain’t never been with a woman long enough for my boots to get old.” The amusing antidote led right into the bonus cut, again taking it back to 1977’s Carolina Dreams album with “Heard It In a Love Song.”
If forty-five years of twists and turns will not slow down a band, nothing will. With that said, The Marshall Tucker Band is every bit as entertaining now as ever. Their live show creates a wonderful feeling of unity as each musician clearly enjoys performing with each other and in front of a dedicated audience. The Long Hard Road Tour continues throughout 2016, and with an endless catalog of songs at The Marshall Tucker Band’s disposal, they have the ability to make sure no two shows are alike, giving even seasoned fans of their live shows a reason to keep coming back.