Rock-n-Blues Guitar Summit at the Larcom Theatre – MA


by Maia Kennedy

Show photos: HERE and HERE 

I’d never been to the Larcom Theatre before, located in downtown Beverly. I went last weekend and was very pleasantly surprised; it was absolutely beautiful, both inside and out!  Originally built by two brothers with a vaudeville/musical act in 1912, it was then bought and fully restored in 1984.  After receiving this “balcony-to-boiler room renovation” 1 the Larcom began life anew.  The “elegant horseshoe balcony, hand-painted antique pressed tin ceilings, and original silk wall coverings … [take] you back in time to an age when American life moved more slowly and … deliberately.” 2
 The night began with Gary Hoey.  He was everyone’s friend as soon as he got on stage, joking around like we were all hanging out in his living room.  He played a couple of different guitars and gave intros to each song, telling a number of stories.  He started with the acoustic, saying he enjoyed the simplicity of it, and then joked about using 24 effects pedals, which recreated the sound of a truckload of guitars.   He described how he found his other guitar, a beautiful chrome piece that glistened as the light hit it.  He jokingly said that when he first saw it he thought it was a camp stove.  When he asked, “how do you light it up?” the store owner told him it was a “Dobro” guitar.  Gary said that he immediately fell in love with it after playing it.  When he asked about purchasing it the store owner wanted to know “where’s the dough bro?!” 
 After Hoey left the stage, the musicians from the James Montgomery band came out to jam: George McCann (guitar), Jeff Thompson (drums), and David Hull (bass).  When James Montgomery came out a short time later to join them, they proceeded to rock the house!  Montgomery has been described as one of the most dynamic musicians on the music scene and that night he proved it.   He roared onto the stage, leading the band and howling the blues on his harmonica.  The audience howled back for more the whole night.  Barry Goudreau (guitarist from the band Boston), along with Gary Hoey then joined them on stage and they proceeded to jam the night away.  The guys were just awesome; it’s hard to find a better word to describe it!  They played so well together, encouraging and toying with one another as they played; they seemed to be having as much fun as the audience watching them.  The audience gave hoots, hollers, and applause during and after each and every song; there were many standing ovations.  Each musician also got a moment to shine and show off his talent in solo numbers that just made you think, “Wow!”
 They played songs from Montgomery band’s repertoire as well as some of the most amazing covers, including songs from Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Bo Didley, and B. B. King.  At one point, Gary introduced the next song, asking, “we’re going to do a song by Eric Clapton, is that OK?”  There was laughter in the audience and a deafening applause as they just ripped into it, tearing into the song, “Crossroads.”
 All these musicians are extremely accomplished and well known, both in solo endeavors as well as playing with numerous other popular bands.  That night was a meeting of prime rock and blues aficionados.  McCann described the night perfectly, “Saturday night was a high-energy show with a lot of spontaneous moments; the musical camaraderie was contagious.”

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