with a Rapid Stream of Hits in New Jersey
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Little River Band (LRB) performed at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey on July 9, 2015. The LRB has many hits to their credit listing "It's a Long Way There," "Help Is on Its Way," "Happy Anniversary," "Reminiscing," "Lady," and "Cool Change" among many others. Controversy lingers around the current version of the Little River Band as there are presently no original members in the group. Bassist Wayne Nelson has been in the LRB for over 30 years and the majority of this line-up has been playing together for more than a decade. However, fans still want to hear those soft rock classics and the Little River Band circa 2015 delivered the goods.

Wayne Nelson and Australian Greg Hind of LRB in New Jersey.

The LRB's set-up was straight forward; they started with a full sounding "Long Way There" enhanced by multi-part harmonies. All five members of the group sang thus vocals were a big part of their sound. They also had two lead guitarists who added some force to the music. "Man On Your Mind" also featured layered vocals and lively guitars thus setting the course for the rest of the show.

"Hello New Jersey," greeted frontman Wayne Nelson. He chatted a bit before springing into "Happy Anniversary". Chris played a keytar behind his head adding to the festivities of the song. Delicate keys and a shaker enhanced the mood for "Take It Easy On Me" before the guitars gently picked up the pace.

"God bless B.B. King," declared Nelson. "The Other Guy" channeled the spirit of swampy blues in a musical conversation between the guitars and the singers. Wayne mentioned their most recent record - Cuts Like A Diamond, stating that the next song was about the choices young people are making to serve their country. "Lost and Lonely" was a compelling piece that called listeners to pray for our heroes. Images of water and isolation told the story of lost love in "I'm An Island".

Scenes from the Little River Band at the bergenPAC.

"Reminiscing" echoed of smooth late 1970's rock. "Help Is On Its Way" another LRB classic was dedicated to soldiers. A quick drum solo soared into a jam as "The Night Owls" took flight. "Cool Change" featured cascading keys before fluid fret work from both Greg and Rich kicked up the tempo.

"Thank you for forty years of supporting the Little River Band." said Wayne before he introduced the 2015 line-up, they then completed the crowd pleasing "Cool Change" followed by a lovely "Lady". Despite the ongoing controversy this version of the band shined in a live setting - especially on the material from their current release - which is legitimately their own.

"We're not done yet, I just let the young guys get some oxygen," jested Nelson as the other musicians briefly left the stage to signify the encore. Wayne encouraged their fans to come near them for a "party picture" that would be posted on Facebook. The crowd was on their feet and clapping along to a winsome version of "Lonesome Loser". The group was available after the concert to say hello and sign stuff. The well-seasoned Little River Band played a solid set of their classic and contemporary material at the bergenPAC.

Opening for the Little River Band was Nik Rael. Nik is an educator and soul singer from New Jersey. The audience at the bergenPAC was just as attentive to Mr. Rael as they were to the headliners. Nik engaged the crowd with his insightful storytelling and strumming. His show was a mix of originals and covers.

More scenes from the Little River Band at the bergenPAC.

Highlights of Rael's set were his inspiring "Thank You" (for pleasure and pain), a fine version of Bob Seeger's "Down On Main Street". The intro to that cover integrated Nik's memory of being thrilled to be old enough to sit in the front seat of his Dad's car listening to the radio with both of them liking that song. Nik's junk car tale was a funny tribute to his 1981 Ford Granada. Rael closed with "Make You Feel My Love" a poetic piece penned by Bob Dylan.

The bergenPAC continues to host a wide range of acts such as the Little River Band. In addition to being an entertainment hub in the town of Englewood the bergenPAC also supports educational programs in culture, dance, music and theater. Their Limitless Arts program offers a full schedule of classes for children and teens with special needs. Upcoming events at the bergenPAC include Jessie's Girl, Silvestre Dangond, the Big Apple Circus, Girls Night The Musical, Deep Purple, Indigo Girls and Youngjoo Song Quartet.

Little River Band: Rich Herring/guitar; Greg Hind/guitar; Chris Mario/keys; Wayne Nelson/bass; and, Ryan Ricks/drums

Nik Rael from New Jersey opened with a compelling acoustic set.

Related Links: For more information on the LITTLE RIVER BAND and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Little River Band | Nik Rael | Bergen PAC

(Originally Published on July 12, 2015)




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