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ConcertsNazareth & The Artimus Pyle Band at NYC's BB King Blues Club 6/25/2013

Posted on Thursday, June 27 2013 @ 10:22:52 CDT by Pete Pardo

It's been many years since Scottish hard rock legends Nazareth toured the US, but here we are in 2013 and the rugged veterans are back for a short trek, making their New York stop at the BB King Blues Club with openers The Artimus Pyle Band. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo, a longtime fan of the band but never lucky enough to catch them live until now, was on hand for all the hard rocking fun.

You never can tell with the fickle New York music fan just which classic bands will generate a sizable crowd these days, so I was more than excited to see BB King's filled almost to capacity for the return of Nazareth on this hot, muggy evening. To open the show, veteran Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle and his band cranked out a scorching set of Skynyrd classics, and I mean scorching, drop dead perfect renditions of many old favorites. Along with Brad Durden (keyboards, vocals), Scott Raines (guitar), Tony Black (bass), and Jerry Lyda (guitar), Pyle and his big hat sat behind the drum kit and blasted out one LS gem after another, such as "Working for MCA", "I Ain't the One", "Simple Man", "Call Me the Breeze", "That Smell", "Gimme 3 Steps", "The Ballad of Curtis Loew", "Swamp Music", and of course, "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Freebird". For "Sweet Home Alabama", Pyle came out from behind his kit to sing lead vocals, and guest drummer Vito Liuzzi from Johnny Winter's band drove home the rhythm. If you want to see the ultimate LS tribute, this was basically it. Pyle even talked about the horrific 1977 plane crash that took the lives of LS members Ronnie Van Zandt, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines, and how Nazareth were the opening band on that tour and the last band that Skynyrd played with before the tragedy. This night was a reunion of sorts, as the first time in 34 years that founding Nazareth members Dan McCafferty and Pete Agnew have seen crash survivor Pyle. Just a great set in front of a very appreciative audience, with a sobering backstory behind it. If you don't get a chance to see Lynyrd Skynyrd on their recent tour and The Artimus Pyle Band is in town, definitely check them out.

After a lengthy break (apparently some members of Nazareth arrived late to the venue) and sweltering temperatures inside BB Kings due to the near 90 degree weather outside and close to 800 fans in attendance, the band came on just before 10PM and broke right into their epic song "Telegram". Joining founding members McCafferty & Agnew are longtime guitarist Jimmy Murrison and drummer Lee Agnew (Pete's son), and you can really tell that these guys have been a unit for quite some time as the band is tight as a drum. Many favorites from throughout their long career (45 years!) were played, including "Holiday", "My White Bicycle", "Beggar's Day", the heavy "Miss Misery", and "Shanghai'd in Shanghai". Singer McCafferty still has the leather lunged, gravelly roar, and you can clearly tell where singers like Axel Rose, Bon Scott, Tom Keifer, and Brian Johnson got their inspiration from. Murrison's big, bluesy hard rock riffs were all over "Whiskey Drinkin' Woman", "Woke Up This Morning", "Cocaine", and "Razamanaz", and of course you can't have a Nazareth concert without "This Flight Tonight", "Love Hurts", and "Hair of the Dog", the latter complete with McCafferty on Scottish bagpipes doing the talkbox part of the song. Nice surprise was the band diving into their recent studio album Big Dogz for a great rendition of "Radio", a tune that rocks and has a superb hook, which, in a perfect world, could easy be a hit on FM radio. The somber "Long Black Veil" even drew out Artimus Pyle to the side of the stage to watch his old touring partners dig into some more tranquil and emotional material.

Overall, this was a fantastic evening of '70s hard rock, and more proof that some of the old acts still have what it takes. As a fan of Nazareth for over 30 years, I've long hoped to catch them live before they decide to call it a day, so I was thankful for this opportunity and really had a blast. If you've been a fan and haven't checked out their two latest studio releases The Newz and Big Dogz, you really should give them a shot as they are both quite good. The 'big dogz' certainly 'howled' on this evening, and when everyone left BB Kings we all knew we'd been 'messin' with that son of a bitch' !

Pete Pardo

1. Telegram
2. Holiday
3. Beggars Day (Crazy Horse cover)
4. Sunshine
5. My White Bicycle (Tomorrow cover)
6. Turn On Your Receiver
7. Radio
8. Bad Bad Boy
9. Cocaine (J.J. Cale cover)
10. Shanghai'd in Shanghai
11. Miss Misery
12. This Flight Tonight (Joni Mitchell cover)
13. Whiskey Drinkin' Woman
14. Hair of the Dog
15. Long Black Veil (Lefty Frizzell cover)
16. Woke Up This Morning
17. Razamanaz
18. Love Hurts (The Everly Brothers cover)

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