While concentrating on material from the ’50s and ’60s, both the Everly Brothers and Dion (DiMucci) showed that these Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame members still have much to offer contemporary audiences.
For their first local show in several years, the Everlys — now a decade into their reunion after a 10-year sabbatical — have come as close as possible to revamping their show without leaving out such major hits as “All I Have to Do Is Dream,””Bye, Bye, Love” and “Cathy’s Clown,” or substantially changing their band.
They’ve left their trademark tuxedos at home, though; elder brother, lead singer and spokesman Don has finally stopped ridiculing his younger sibling; some songs have been slightly rearranged; and the Everlys are allowing their terrific band a chance to shine on two instrumentals.
The rearrangements were generally slight — enough to differ from the recorded versions, not enough to cease being instantly recognizable. Guitarist Albert Lee, steel guitarist Buddy Emmons and pianist Pete Wingfield took solos that weren’t on the records, and occasionally Don Everly would kick off songs with a deceptive introduction (a funny “Pinball Wizard” strumming intro to “Wake Up, Little Suzie,” for example).
A brief acoustic segment highlighted the Brothers’ harmonies on vintage hillbilly ballads: Tex Ritter’s “Long Time Gone” and the Delmore Brothers’ “Blues, Stay Away from Me” (the group rejoining just in time for a heartbreaking solo by Emmons). The band’s spotlight featured two jazz standards: Emmons featured on “Broadway” and everybody on a fingerbusting “Tiger Rag.”
The Everlys have just been dropped by Mercury, their label of 10 years. The brothers reciprocated by ignoring the three albums’ worth of material from that period, including Paul McCartney’s “On the Wings of a Nightingale” and Mark Knopfler’s “Why Worry,” both purportedly penned for the duo and available on a recently released “Mercury Years” compilation. Warner Bros. Records has a 50 -song retrospective of the Brothers’ years with the label, 1960-69, due in September.
Dion’s last album, 1992’s “Dream on Fire,” was released by the Miami indie Vision Records. The singer performed his version of Nick Lowe’s “I Knew the Bride (When She Usedto Rock and Roll)” from that album, “King of the New York Streets” from his 1989 Arista “comeback” album, and otherwise stuck to his earlier tunes, though backed by a band with ’90s sizzle and the ability to carry an a cappella version of Dion and the Belmonts’ first hit, “I Wonder Why.” Notable, too, was Dion’s clever rap introduction to “The Wanderer.”