Review and Photos by Barry BrecheisenNever say never. In this day and age there's no such thing as a band breaking up. If the Sex Pistols can do it or even The Beatles with an old scratchy acetate of John Lennon, then anyone can and will. So it can be said for the now reformed Concrete Blonde.
The original trio of Jim Mankey, Harry Rushakoff and of course Johnette Napolitano are back on the road in support of their new CD, Group Therapy. Their first official CD in eight years. Playing to a anxious, sold-out crowd, Johnette and the gang opened their set with "Beware Of Darkness." A beautifully haunting, if not timely, George Harrison cover that appears on their debut. Illuminated by bursts of red and blue, Johnette seemed comfortable and even happy back in the spotlight. "I miss you too. I miss you so much", Johnette said to an adoring fan. Delivering the goods early with "God is a Bullet" and "Bloodletting" provided an even balance to the generous offering of new tracks. "It's a miracle we're even here really," confessed Johnette as her voice started to warble. That may be true considering their history, but you could never tell by tonight's solid performance and the smiles on the crowd. By the time they played "Joey" the audience became theirs for the taking. Putting an interesting spin on the top forty classic, the band played it as a medley with "Whiskey in a Jar," an old Irish folk song. Jim Mankey's guitar work shined as he delivered a stunning solo performance. It's fascinating, the wall of sound that can emanate out of a 3-piece band, like Concrete Blonde. Coming back from the encore Jim misread the set list and began playing the wrong tune and that set Johnette off. "I don't want to skip a song. I like this goddamn song," she insisted. Before finally getting in tune with Johnette for the timeless "Someday," By the time they played "Still in Hollywood" all was forgiven and you could see Johnette shaking her ass to the punkish groove.
With that they said goodnight. The lights went up, the stage hands begin breaking down the set and the murmur of fans echoed as they began to make there way toward the exit. With out warning the lights dimmed and the exiting fans' attention were directed back to the stage. Johnette and Jim walked back onstage for a special gift of "Tomorrow Wendy." "Thank you very much that was just for you," Johnette explained as they waved one last time to the crowd. Who knows how long this reunion will last. One things for certain, just when you think you have them figured out is when they surprise you the most.
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