Garry W. Tallent is of course known throughout the world as the quiet bassist from the legendary E Street Band that has traveled all over with Bruce Springsteen for almost 50 years at this point. What you may not know about Garry is that he has a deep love of early rockabilly from the likes of Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, The Shadows, and Buddy Holly and he made sure to honor each of them at Troy’s The Hangar.
Tallent was all smiles that night as he clearly loves being the leader of a band. He played almost his entire new album, Break Time, during the show. The title fits perfectly of course as the only way he could do such a lengthy tour would to have a break from playing with Springsteen. The songs all harken back to the earliest days of rock and roll. He introduced either the song or the band member who would sing the song for us for almost every tune. When his bassist came to the front to sing, Tallent joked “I know this is going to catch on and become popular”. While Tallent got a majority of the loudest ovations, local guitar slinger Eddie Angel had his fair share too. Angel is of course known from the Los Straitjackets and anytime he had a solo, the crowd whooped it up for him. Tallent egged the crowd on. Angel’s playing, especially on “Rampage” was just flawless. What he can do on a guitar is just beautiful to watch.
Tallent put together an impressive band for this tour. They have been on the road for a little bit now and they are as tight as could be. Jimmy Lester, also of Los Straitjackets, held the drums steady while Mark Winchester spun the upright bass around all night. Kevin McKendree’s hands flew all over the keys and Fats Kaplin was switching instruments so often it was amazing he wasn’t doing everything by himself. Kristi Rose’s vocals really tied many songs together as Tallent’s vocals are gravely, but fit the style. Watching the band interact on stage and clearly loving playing with one another in such a small space was a joy.
Tallent broke a string on his guitar about mid-way through the show and–like that other band he is in–had a small conference and went into two unrehearsed tour premiers. It was great to see how comfortable they were on stage, that there was 100 percent trust in each other to go into songs like that on the fly. Each member got a moment in the sun during the set, but especially on “Gone Awry”. Seeing Tallent look at the members of his band with nothing but the biggest smile was worth the price of admission alone. He was just beaming from ear to ear as his players dominated their respective instruments.
After leaving to a thunderous applause, Tallent and the band came for a two-song encore, both funnily enough about moving. The first song was “Movin too Slow”, which he wrote, and the second song was a Levon Helm song, “Move to Japan”. In the final song he was able to say goodbye to the crowd, not only in English but also Japanese. Not only did it put one last smile on his face, but also the faces of everyone in the crowd. After he left the stage he came back to the merch table soon after to talk with many of the fans and sign whatever they had for him. Being this close to the crowds again must be special for him, as he’s almost always in arenas and stadiums whenever he goes out with Springsteen.
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