Good Rockin’ Tonight at the Sydney Casino - with the TCB Band & Mick Gerace
Saturday 23rd October 2004
truly got their 50th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll treat last
Saturday when Elvis’ TCB Band, Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith
and Australia’s Mick Gerace performed at the Sydney Casino.
December last year Mick Gerace presented a similar show, so
this time the audience was hoping for something special –
and the band certainly delivered! The first half of the concert
highlighted Elvis’ early career and allowed the musicians
to do something new; playing Elvis’ songs in their original
style rather than the “Las Vegas” versions.
the focus was seeing these great musicians performing live,
the real highlight was seeing them perform songs that I had
never heard them play before. The importance of ‘That’s All
Right’ was mentioned but the real joy was hearing the TCB
band performing it in Elvis’ classic 1954 rockabilly style.
With a delightful grin on their faces, here were James Burton & Jerry Scheff cuttin’-it-up Scotty Moore & Bill Black style!
the sly, knowing smiles on their faces you could see
just how much the TCB Band were enjoying the opportunity
to play something different. The crowd exploded with
appreciation and the treats continued with ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’ before they launched into a suitably haunting
James Burton has always said that no matter how many
times he plays a song he always likes to add in a new
twist to keep it fresh & exciting and this definitely
was the case tonight. Mick Gerace also took time out
to let the band members reminisce on life with Elvis.
Jerry Scheff & Glenn D. Hardin spoke more tonight than I have
ever heard them before and were in excellent humour. Jerry
told the cute story of meeting Elvis for the first time and
how he had to admit to Elvis that he didn’t even like his
music! Elvis replied, “Don’t you worry about that. We’ll just
play the blues!” This
was the perfect introduction to one of Elvis’ greatest songs
‘Reconsider Baby’ a real highlight of the first set.
Gerace was the perfect frontsman giving the band plenty of
spaces to solo and this great blues number gave all the band
members time to shine. Jerry Scheff also made the fabulous
comment "You can't be smiling if you're playing The Blues",
but while they all got down with some fabulous blues they
still couldn’t stop smiling with delight!
highlights from the first set were the surprise of hearing
the band playing a fabulous ‘Viva Las Vegas’ (a real
TCB Band rarity) and ‘Rubberneckin’’ which featured
some very fine backing vocals from Myrna Smith & a blistering
guitar solo from James Burton.
‘A Big Hunk O’ Love’
then provided Glenn D. Hardin with a chance to show
off some fast rockin’ Jerry Lee Lewis piano work. The
history lesson of the first half also had the perfect
end, with Mick Gerace’s committed performance of the
’68 Comeback classic, ‘If I Can Dream’.
the TCB Band was the focus of the evening, the extra
musicians that added to the brilliant overall sound
also deserve a lot of credit. Ronnie Tutt was unfortunately
unable to attend due to his touring commitments with
Neil Diamond, however Sydney drummer Mike Hague did
an exemplary job in filling in.
Mike Conway on rhythm guitar was also an excellent foil to James Burton. Backing vocalist Nadine Cook stirred the emotions with her great ‘American Trilogy’ flute solo and Robert Anderson provided some excellent harmonies. His work on ‘Don’t Cry Daddy’ put Elvis’ Charlie Hodge to shame!
only is 2004 the 50th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll but, as
Mick Gerace pointed out, the 35th anniversary of the TCB Band
getting together to be Elvis’ definitive live band. The second
half of the show focussed on the years that the boys spent
with Elvis and the intensity increased when they returned
to the stage with a powerful ‘See See Rider’.
again that classic rumble from Jerry’s bass brought smiles
from all the musicians as they nailed a perfect ‘Burnin’ Love’.
The second set was one highlight after another with ‘Never
Been To Spain’ letting James Burton open up, as well as let
the 5 piece brass section really shine. ‘Proud Mary’ was perfect
for some call & response from the backing vocalists and ‘Steamroller
Blues’ had them all dancing to the beat.
EIN's Piers Beagley with two familiar faces
Sanja Meegin with the legendary James Burton
Smith charmed everyone as she sang and danced with the energy
of a teenager, and she also delighted the crowd by singing
a spontaneous ‘Happy Birthday’ to members of the audience.
Mick Gerace was once again the perfect foil for the band,
creating the soulful feel of Elvis while never over-imitating
The King. His interaction with the band on ‘Polk Salad’ was
just right. With Mick saying, “Take it Jerry” that wonderful
throbbing rhythm started and we knew that everything was going
to be all right. Let’s face it, ‘Polk Salad Annie’ without
Jerry Scheff ain’t no salad at all! (What was Elvis doing
with Duke on stage in 1974?!).
Jerry Scheff also seemed to be 10 years younger than when
I last saw him and his playing was a true delight. The Casino
Showroom sound was excellent, letting you enjoy the power
of Jerry’s bass playing as well as highlighting James Burton’s
classic telecaster guitar work.
Minds’ had the complete band sounding as good as any
Elvis concert you have heard! More rare treats were
an impassioned ‘My Boy’ & ‘Help Me’ along with a poignant
‘Always On My Mind’ that had the crowd on their feet.
(What a real shame that Elvis never played it live.)
Before the finale, Mick Gerace introduced his own song
(co-written with his daughter) ‘The Spirit Of Elvis’.
A touching song, and what a treat to have the TCB Band
‘American Trilogy’ was the perfect emotional
ending that had the crow cheering for more. With James
Burton’s guitar ringing-like-a-bell the band exploded
for the encore of ‘Johnny B Goode’ before the final
goodnight of ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love.’
Verdict: A magnificent night and for some EIN Members the final treat was spending some time with the band at the after-show cocktail party. Despite performing on stage for over 2 hours they were all so gracious & accommodating as they chatted to fans and signed autographs for everyone lucky enough to be there. A perfect night!
Click here for EIN's interview with James Burton
Click here for EIN's interview with Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith.
Click here for 2006 'Elvis Presley In Concert' information & review.
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