When the entire audience sings along...
you have the perfect fit of a band with an audience. At one point during the show, Larry Stewart (lead vocals and guitar) addresses the crowd and asks “If some of you are wondering why you're here...”.
While Restless Heart may not be one of the biggest draws in Country Music, during their heyday in the late 1980's, they were getting a lot of airplay and are still touring with the original five members of the band – somewhat of a rarity in groups with over 25 years of history. While Billy Bob's Texas was not exactly packed to capacity with paying concert-goers, there was a large overflow crowd on the periphery who chose not to buy tickets, but rather stand at a distance and enjoy the music. Whether this was due to the state of the economy, or a factor of the band's fan base, I couldn't tell.
This is a tight band with a long string of hits dating back to 1985. Reuniting in 2003, and releasing a new album a year later. While this talented ensemble may not be in the current forefront of the Country charts, their past hits are still viable, their harmonies exquisite, and they are all having a great time performing these timeless hits for their faithful fans. At one point in the set, the guys performed a compilation as a salute to the acts that inspired them and made their careers possible. Opening the salute with their version of “Why Not Me”, one of The Judds' biggest hits, they worked their way through several popular chart-toppers which the enthusiastic crowd sang along with.
While there were a lot of empty seats compared to many of the concerts I have covered at BBT, the ones who did show up were clearly fans, knew every word to most of the material and enthusiastically sang along during most of the evening's performance. “The Bluest Eyes in Texas” was the first of their hits in the lineup (#1 on the US Country charts in 1988) and met with an enthusiastic response. Clearly the most popular song of the night was “I'll Still Be Loving You”, their most popular love song, which attained the number one spot in both the US and Canadian Country Music charts in 1986. “Why Does It Have To Be”, was clearly a crowd favorite and reached the number one spot in both the US and Canadian Country Music charts in 1987.
While the rest of the band took a break, Paul Gregg (bass) sang a relatively new piece, entitled “Home”, accompanied by Dave Innis on keyboards - a moving tribute to our armed forces personnel, which drew a standing ovation. Restless Heart seem like a bunch of regular guys who love what they do and interact with the audience, fool around with them and, generally, just want to have fun while they entertain their fans – a nice touch.
The band came back for a solid rendition of ZZ Top's “Sharp Dressed Man”, always a crowd pleaser in The Lone Star State.
Review by Warren Paul Harris, staff writer
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