Legendary musician Denny Laine appeared at Jammin' Java in Vienna, Virginia, on Sunday, July 29, 2007. The Cryers, a quartet from New Jersey, joined Laine on stage as his backing band. It's rare to catch Denny Laine in an intimate setting, and his performance was not to be missed.

     Casually walking out on stage after his introduction, Laine stated confidently, "We're gonna do some of my Wings songs", to a round of enthusiastic applause. His set began with the strong rocker, "Time To Hide", embellished by harmonica solos from Laine.

     Laine prefaced the material, chatting about the origin of each song. His insights into a stellar musical past, earthy humor and engaging quips kept the audience in laughter. "No Words", Laine's first co-authored composition with McCartney, showcased the dual guitars of Laine and Brown. Orlando sang the bridge vocal at which Denny said, "Thank you Paul".

     "Deliver Your Children", one of five McCartney-Laine tunes recorded for London Town in 1978, highlighted Brown on acoustic guitar. Laine went on to share a tale of being in Las Vegas meeting Tom Jones. His moral was, "Don't take drugs, just drink yourself to bleeding death". He added it was something he learned during his tenure in Wings.

     Turning back time, Laine sang a moving version of "Go Now", lifted by Liao's keyboards. This signature song from his days with the Moody Blues received immediate approval from the crowd. Laine scored a smash hit, singing lead on the single with the Moody Blues in 1965, before forming Wings with Paul & Linda McCartney in 1971.

     Laine mentioned getting stuck in the mud while wearing Wellies for a Back To The Egg video shoot before launching into his final Wings recording "Again And Again And Again". Laine, Brown and Orlando harmonized together on this, which really rocked the Vienna club.

     Laine spoke of collaborating with Paul on the lyrics for "Mull Of Kintyre" and that Scottish comedian Billy Connelly voiced his dissatisfaction to him. Reaching a major moment in concert, The Cryers rose to the occasion supporting Laine on this 1977 masterpiece as he encouraged the audience to sing along during the chorus.

     The Cryers arrangement of "Live And Let Die" worked exceedingly well live sans all of the pyrotechnic tricks that Macca employs on stage to perform this song. Although more rock than reggae, their bridge segue was brief before the band spiked the volume once again. The dramatic power bursts were cool, which preceded the extended climactic jam.

     Reminiscing about recording in Nigeria during 1973, Laine remarked he was proud of the Band On The Run album. He sang the title song in another impressive arrangement from The Cryers. Liao's synth playing, Brown's bottle neck leads and Payne's drum solo had the fans animated in the audience. The ensuing crescendo jam left everybody clamoring for more.

     Laine commented, "Thank you, see you later", as he exited the stage without returning for an encore. He was eager to greet all of the fans that remained after the performance to shake his hand and offer praise on the concert. Laine signed all of the musical memorabilia presented before him, with several fans hopping back in line for multiple autographs.

     The Cryers opened for Laine, mixing original songs with a collection of golden oldies. Bassist Joe Orlando and guitarist Jeff Brown handle lead vocals. Keyboardist Belle Liao and drummer Bob Payne are essential members, fueling the sound of the group. The Cryers announced the release of their new self-titled CD, featuring six original compositions.

Vienna setlist: Time To Hide * No Words * Deliver Your Children * Go Now * Again And Again And Again * Mull Of Kintyre * Live And Let Die * Band On The Run

RockonTour   Issue #71
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Winging solo
The Cryers support Denny Laine in Vienna

by Timothy Tilghman