The Rhythm Kings Breaking Up The House tour rocked the Sunoco Theatre at the Harrisburg Whitaker Center on Monday, August 13, 2001. Bill Wyman stated into the mike that he had, "Never been here before", which prompted barks from the audience that he had. The Rolling Stones visited the Pennsylvanian Capital during their inaugural tour on June 19, 1964.
With 18 numbers, the setlist for the Sunoco audience was the longest show of three gigs. The lone new entry from their performance cannon was "Tell You A Secret"; a Wyman-Taylor original composition sung by Gary Brooker from the Groovin' disc. When Albert Lee began "Jump, Jive And Wail", a couple got up in the front corner to swing-dance. One female member seated third row center was so moved as to grant lap dances to four men in her row.
"Melody" featured a duet on vocals by Beverley Skeete and Georgie Fame with a fine lead guitar solo by Terry Taylor. When Fame introduced this song, he stated the composer credit as Jagger/Richards/Preston. Beverley's showstopper, "I Put A Spell On You", got the house up out of their seats in appreciation and applause.
Gary displayed his knowledge of Harrisburg history to the audience. He had several quick quips in retort to comments from interjecting patrons. He made a pun about the famous Abbot & Costello comic routine by asking, "Who's On First Bass, then?". Brooker next asked Bill how long the Rhythm Kings were together, "2 years?" Bill said "4", and Gary said, "Don't you mean 44?", a reference to the Rolling Stones impending 40th anniversary in 2002.
The dueling guitars and guitar teamwork demonstrated by Albert Lee and Martin Taylor together on Lee's guitar in "Tear It Up" received another standing ovation. Georgie came out alone for the first encore with Martin Taylor on guitar to sing "Georgia On My Mind" and proceeded to share a insightful story about his traveling to see Hoagy Carmichael shortly before his death. Bill's cigarette smoking was the subject of ribbing again.
When I was greeted by Bill backstage in Harrisburg, I presented him a gift bottle of Rosemount Shiraz, an awesome Australian red wine from 1999. He was surprised by my gesture. I told him it was my thank you to him for his gracious hospitality in welcoming me backstage 10 days earlier after the Atlantic City show.
I had Terry Taylor sign my "Groovin" C.D. single that features his lead vocals on "Gambler's Lament". I also asked every Rhythm Kings band member to sign my tour program this time. Bill also signed an unused ticket from the December 1983 ARMS Benefit he appeared at with Charlie, Ron and Ian Stewart at MSG in NYC. It was nice of Bill to share some remembrances about Stu.
I conducted a cyber interview with Bill for a graduate class proposal and brought the print portfolio with me. It was very kind of Bill to review the proofs of that article. (This Interview was posted online in RockonTour Issue #1.) I also showed him some other related Stones projects I designed. He commented on the collection of Stones ticket stubs in one particular piece. And if all this wasn't enough, Bill posed for a photo with me, which is a wonderful souvenir. Wow - what a tremendous evening.
Many people I met before these shows said they knew nothing about Bill and the Rhythm Kings. Then once inside, these same people were up on their feet applauding and repeating standing ovations for the band. I only got to see three shows on this tour, but they were all very enjoyable concerts. Thank you to Bill, for coming stateside to tour and entertain your US fans.
Opened in 1999, the Sunoco Theatre is a plush venue with the right ambiance to catch a hot band like the Rhythm Kings. Seated in the front row of the left center section on the aisle, I was in a perfect position for snapping stage pix. This performance was my third and final concert on their 2001 summer U.S. tour.
The Rhythm Kings feature leader Bill Wyman on bass, song composing partner Terry Taylor on guitar and backing vocals, Georgie Fame on piano and vocals, Gary Brooker on keyboards and vocals, Beverley Skeete and Janice Hoyte on vocals, Albert Lee on guitar and vocals, Martin Taylor on guitar, Nick Payn and Frank Mead on horns, and Graham Broad on drums.
Harrisburg setlist: Let The Good Times Roll - Gary * Jitterbug Boogie - Gary * Walking One And Only - Georgie * Jump, Jive And Wail - Albert * Baby Workout - Beverley * Tell You A Secret - Gary * Anyway The Wind Blows - Georgie * This Little Girl's Gone Rocking - Janice * Good Golly Miss Molly - Gary * Melody - Beverley & Georgie * I Put A Spell On You - Beverley * Hit The Road Jack/Hit That Jive Jack - Gary * Mystery Train - Georgie & Gary * Breaking Up The House - Gary * Tear It Up - Albert * Encore: Georgia On My Mind - Georgie solo w/Martin Taylor on guitar * Whiter Shade of Pale - Gary on piano w/Frank Mead on horn * band intro's by Bill * Illusion demonstration by Bill w/Graham Broad & Martin Taylor seated & standing * Hole In The Wall - Gary
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The Rhythm Kings rock the house
by Timothy Tilghman