LIVE: NRBQ @ The Linda, 4/3/11

Terry Adams (photo by Fred Boak)
Terry Adams (photo by Fred Boak)

Although Terry Adams – rock ‘n’ roll’s mad scientist of the clavinet – is now the only remaining original member, he certainly made a strong case for reclaiming the hallowed name NRBQ with his rollicking performance at The Linda on Sunday night. In concert, the band – known as the Terry Adams Rock and Roll Quartet until Adams recently decided to rename them with the resurrected the NRBQ band moniker – sported all the earmarks of vintage NRBQ:

– great singing (especially by guitarist Scott Lignon, who just might sing even sweeter than Joey Spampinato)
– great playing (Adams’ piano pummeling during “Want You to Feel Good Too,” which should have been declared the theme song of the night, was simply dizzying)
– great stylist range (cover tunes ranged from “There’s a Kind of Hush” to “The Sunny Side of the Street”)
– a monster groove (provided by bassist Pete Donnelly of the Figgs and drummer Conrad Choucroun)
– a goofy fashion statement (Adams was proudly sporting a bright blue Wal-Mart employee vest with a big smiley face on the back)
– funky old musical equipment held together with little more than several rolls of duct tape (At one point, Adams simply stepped away from his keyboards, threw his hands in the air and declared, “My piano is broken!”)
– plenty of classics from the deep NRBQ catalog (“Howard Johnson’s Got His Ho-Jo Workin’,” “Me and the Boys” and “The Music Goes ‘Round and ‘Round,” to name a few)
– special guest appearances (with his drum kit sitting sided-by-side with Choucroun’s, ‘Q alum Tommy Ardolino played about half the night, and longtime ‘Q pal P.J. O’Connell jumped up to lead the band through “Inconsiderate”)
– a willful silliness (Adams’ goofy “Umbrella” was just one of many examples)
– and a few undeniable train wrecks (no one on stage seemed to know the lyrics, the chords or even the key they were playing in, but it didn’t stop them from rampaging through the Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind.” And let’s not forget Ardolino’s turn at the microphone – with Adams at the drums – for a delightfully disastrous take on Ruby & the Romantics’ “Our Day Will Come”)

They played about half of the tunes from the brand new album, “Keep This Love Goin,” with Donnelly’s “I’m Satisfied” and the Adams/Donnelly co-write “Let Go,” emerging as two of the brightest highlights. And the songs stood up alongside the classics from NRBQ’s past repertoire. Adams’ voice admittedly got raspier as the evening wore on, but his spirit certainly wasn’t dampened.

Photographs by Rich Borden and Fred Boak

My other review at The Times Union
Excerpt from Michael Hochanadel’s review at The Daily Gazette: “Early on, guitarist Scott Ligon crooned the breezy ‘Gone With the Wind,’ combining sadness with a great melody. Then bassist Pete Donnelly delivered ‘I’m Satisfied’ to very satisfying effect. If Ligon is arguably the finest singer NRBQ has ever had, Donnelly is a very good one; while Adams’ voice faded as the show grooved on. Retaining their gift for surprise as well as variety, NRBQ also introduced songs too new for the album, including the sumptuous pop of Donnelly’s ‘Original Wonder’ and ‘Florida’ (by Ligon’s brother Chris) — a great groove song, and ridiculous, too.”

Advice for Teenagers
Gone With the Wind
I’m Satisfied
Never Before, Never Again
My Life With You
Want You to Feel Good Too
Keep This Love Goin’
Let Go
Tengo Tango (Cannonball Adderly)
Inconsiderate (with P.J. O’Connell)
She Knows How to Rock Me
Me and the Boys
Original Wonder
The Animal Life
The Music Goes ‘Round and Round
Here I Am
I’m Alone
My Girlfriend’s Pretty
Get Down, Grandpa
Pretty Thing
Friday on My Mind (the Easybeats)
Eat That Pumpkin Pie
Our Day Will Come (Tommy Ardolino: vocals)
There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)
Boozoo and Leona
I’ll See You Soon
Rain at the Drive-In
I Want You Bad
Tragic Magic
Howard Johnson’s Got His Ho-Jo Workin’
Green Lights
On the Sunny Side of the Street

Thanks to Fred Boak for the updates and corrections to the set list…

NRBQ (photo by Fred Boak)
NRBQ with P.J. O'Connell (photo by Fred Boak)
Pete Donnelly and P.J. O'Connell (photo by Fred Boak)
Pete Donnelly and P.J. O'Connell (photo by Fred Boak)
Tom Ardolino (photo by Fred Boak)
Tom Ardolino (photo by Fred Boak)
Terry Adams (photo by Rich Borden)
Terry Adams (photo by Rich Borden)
NRBQ (Photo by Rich Borden)
(Photo by Rich Borden)
  1. Todd Remley says

    Wonderful story, great photos. Thank God for NRBQ in all of it’s forms!

  2. Ed Conway says

    Great write-up Greg and photos Rich and Fred, I wish I could have been there.

  3. stu B says

    does this mean I have to start shopping @ Walmart ?

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