ONE BARELY LEGAL NIGHT
By: Patty Seifert
My 411 Source
Ever wonder what it would be like to spend a night with the Barely Legal guys? If you are into blues, southern, and classic rock sprinkled with originals, this is a MUST SEE band. And it IS legal, not to mention fun and entertaining, to be 'barely legal' for one night…I promise.
On Saturday June 16, I attended the Barely Legal show at the American Legion Post 325 in Holyoke, MA. This was my first night out in months and was intended to be time off and NOT WORK. Do you think the "NO WORKING" thing happened? Old habits die hard. I was preparing to leave when my leisurely adventurous mode automatically reverted into "work" mode. I grabbed my camera bags, pack up my supplies, and began my hour drive down the Mass Pike. My non-working night flew right out the window. After all, I haven't seen Barely Legal since February when I watched then perform 40-50 minute sets and this was a whole night (3 hours) with them. There were going to be plenty of songs I haven't seen them perform. I knew they played two of my all-time favorite songs. However, by the end of the night I would learn they now play three more and I would be pleased with their renditions. So the cameras came out of the dark bags for the first time in months to capture the action I anticipated.
As I entered the American Legion, I could hear people at the bar getting anxious, yet excited, while they inquired about the show's start time. Barely Legal couldn't get started soon enough for them; many had arrived early and been waiting quite some time to ensure they didn't miss these guys. They agreed it is worth the wait.
The band was setting up. When they saw me walk over carrying my gear, they jokingly commented about my "not working" night out, although expressing their appreciation. As they mingled amongst their fans, I looked around the room further and observed what I expected at this American Legion Post; a comfortable, friendly and fun atmosphere full of people, of all ages, coming out to enjoy themselves, their friends, some brews, and live music by Barely Legal.
It was show time. I considered the opening set to be on the mellow side, yet still rocking enough to capture and hold your interest while becoming more upbeat as the set progressed. Personally, I like one band shows starting off this way to lay that foundation and let the excitement gradually build into full action. And that is what happened.
The night began with Stevie Ray Vaughan‘s “Texas Flood.” Throughout the first set, BL played their original song "Gypsy Queen" and such greats as SRV's "Change It" and “Gimme Back My Wig,” The Allman Brother's "Southbound," Alvin Lee's "The Bluest Blues*," Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,“ Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" and more, wrapping up the set with Marshall Tucker's "Can't You See." Although the crowd was enjoying the sounds that graced their eardrums based on their comments in between songs, you could tell the night was still young as many patrons were still arriving and adjusting to the environment. But that soon changed!
By time the second set began at 11:00 pm., the crowd had settled in quite nicely and livened up. As I expected, BL stepped it up a couple notches and started the set playing ZZ Top's "La Grange". Later in the set, we would hear Fitz sing lead (the first time I've heard Fitz sing lead) covering Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison." We had the pleasure of enjoying many other classics including Bob Seger's "Turn the Page*," Joe Cocker's "The Letter*," an exciting performance of Clapton's "Crossroads" that caused the hair on my arms to stand up, John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Get a Leg Up,“ Gin Blossom’s “Hey Jealousy” and wrapping up with another awesome performance covering Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing." The crowd became part of the show joking with band members, dancing and, at times, singing along with songs like Neil Young’s “Keep on Rocking in the Free World” which started it all. To display their appreciation for their people, the band sang "Happy Birthday" to a fan celebrating her special day.
The last set rolled in shortly after midnight and the crowd continued to grow as people were coming through the doors happy to find they could still catch the band. Loyal fans showed their love for the band cheering when Fitz play the intro to their original "Whiteline Fever" to start this set off. The guys performed another jam-packed rocking set consisting of Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me,” Ides of March’s “Vehicle,” Billy Joel's "You May Be Right," that girl and her number made famous by Tommy Tutone "Jenny (867-5309)," Greg Kihn Band's "The Breakup Song," Tonic's "If You Could Only See*," Wes Jeans’ "Dallas," the highly requested and anticipated song of the evening - Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," and many others. They ended the show, to the crowd's delight, with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s "Tuesday's Gone*."
But was that the end?... The audience obviously couldn't get enough! They were so excited and pleased with the set, show, and finale, they wouldn't allow the band to pack up for the night and were begging for more displaying random shouting of "PLEASE" - "ONE MORE SONG" - "C'MON." Some rushed up to the band members asking them to play longer and putting in their requests. At some point, the shouting turned into uniformed foot stomping and table pounding accompanied with continual chanting "HELL NO, WE WON'T GO!" The band couldn’t resist this display of affection and honored a fan's request and gave an encore performance of ZZ Top's "La Grange." In short, a good time had by all filled with great blues, southern, and classic rock tunes. You had to be there in order to acquire the full blown experience. Definitely, a night to remember as it always is with Barely Legal.
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