Bill Medley and Paul Revere and the Raiders February 3, 2008
Back in Style at Cerritos
By Glen Creason
You really have to be in pop music awe to sit at the silver, snakeskin, cowboy-booted feet of Bill Medley who reigned supreme over the Performing Arts stage this weekend. After all, this is the same man who is the famed opening phrase singer on the most played song in radio history. More stations have played and more folks have listened to the Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” than any other song, ever. The Righteous Bros. also have the distinction of authoring the first LP I ever purchased, over at Wallach’s Music City way back in the day. At Cerritos, Medley looked fit and sounded fine, from the opening notes of “Little Latin Lupe-Lu” to the stirring reading with his own son of that most popular song ever. The man is a professional entertainer and to ensure the audience’s attention and appreciation he packed in some bells and whistles that made the show glow with memory and a bit of class. These extras included wonderful power points on the career and amazing ascendancy of the Righteous Brothers from their shows at the old Hanger to hanging out with the Beatles. There was a warm tribute to the late Bobby Hatfield that left more than a few in the crowd reaching into coat pockets for the Kleenex also.
The show featured some good, old-fashioned rock and roll including a Medley-medley of “Long Tall Sally,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Peggy Sue” and “Higher and Higher” that let Medley’s bass tones rumble over the old winners. Of course, there were the trademark ballads including the sublime “Soul and Inspiration,” “Unchained Melody” and “that song” at the end. Yet, some of the finer moments included a few from Bill Medley’s latest blues album, a salute to Ray Charles with “Born to Lose,” “You Don’t Know Me,” and “I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” that are well suited to that finely aged, deep bass voice. Also the Medley family helped out Dad with beautiful daughter McKenna singing in duet on “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” and a very strong “At Last” as a solo. Son Darrin not only sang lead for the opening act but stood in for the Bobby Hatfield part on “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and made “…Time of My Life” a total family affair. Bill Medley has been knocking them dead since 1962 and he kept up his string in this 2008 effort in front of a packed crowd of those indifferent to football and the blustery weather. The show was opened by the delightful and hilarious Paul Revere and the Raiders, roaring through an hour of merriment in their strange little time machine. Their shows have always been centered on the eccentric and effusive leader who kept up a string of wit and ribaldry that broke up the crowd repeatedly. He stood at a console, looking very much like the front end of a Nash Metro and handled props and quips at a rapid-fire clip The “Raiders” are also a pretty darn good band, playing some of the many gold records the group garnered in the 60’s. “Just Like Me,” “Kicks,” “Hunger,” “Good Thing” and their original boogie-woogie piano instrumental hit “Like Long Hair” that took the enthusiastic audience back to those years of “Where the Action Is” on our old TV consoles. Handsome, young Darrin Medley took the old Mark Lindsey role as eye candy and lead singer but guitarist Doug Heath spiced up many a number with his spirited guitar leads. The group, now sailing past the forty year mark can still give a good show because they don’t take themselves too seriously and have a great time along with the audience in reliving that happy-go-lucky optimism of youth, even if it is being celebrated by a 70 year old kid named Paul Revere.