Monday, June 6, 2016

The Romantics live (6/4/16)

My wife and I attended the Belle Isle Grand Prix this past weekend, sponsored by Chevrolet Detroit. There was plenty of racing, lots of automotive displays, a wide variety of food, and also some great music. One of the two concerts we got to see on Saturday the 4th was the Romantics.

Prior to the Detroit hometown rockers taking the stage, we were treated to a couple sets by Power Play. They are also a local band whose motto is "putting the class in classic rock". Let me tell you, they did just that. They covered a wide range of classic covers from Guns and Roses to Journey to Janis Joplin to Aerosmith. They even did an amazing version of Prince's "Purple Rain".

Of course, we had to stake out our spot in the grass for the main show. This was just an open stage area with no seats, so getting a prime spot was key. After picking up some memento t-shirts at the merch table, we got our spots right on the rail near the stage. Since my wife had seen the band about thirty years ago at NC State's Wolfstock '87, this was the show she was most anxious to check out.

The line-up of the band today consists of three of the four original members. Rich Cole is the band's cool and controlled bassist. Mike Skill is the band's vibrant lead guitarist. Wally Palmar does double duty as the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. And Brad Elvis, who is the group's fourth drummer and has been with them since 2004, is their high energy and wildly entertaining drummer.

Just as the show was about to start, the rain started to come down. That did not defer the few hundred fans though that came to hear these guys rock the night. And rock they did! The set list included a number of tracks from their self-titled debut album The Romantics; from there we got "When I Look In Your Eyes", "Tell It To Carrie", and "She's Got Everything". Sprinkled in between a few other tracks were also a couple cover tunes.

Of course, they also included the two big hits that everyone wanted to hear. Halfway through the hour and ten minute set, that band served up "Talking In Your Sleep" from their third studio album In Heat. And the big encore show closer was "What I Like About You" from their debut album.

The band really engaged with the audience. Mike was playing off the crowd on stage right (where we were standing) during his guitar solos. Rich was constantly strutting to the edges of the stage left. Brad kept things going with high tosses and long balancing on his drumsticks. And Wally, the ever-charismatic ringleader kept the crowd singing along.

It wasn't until the next morning that our ears stopped ringing, but the show was worth it. The Romantics proved that guys in their late 50's and early 60's still know how to put on a rocking performance.

For more from the Romantics, click here.

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