Reckless Kelly did a six date run in the northeast last week to support their September release Long Night Moon. The trek took them from North Carolina to D.C., CT, PA and Boston. We had the good fortune to attend four shows, all of which were unique, memorable and fun.
Built in 1883, Infinity Hall in CT is a lovely, intimate, seated venue in the middle of sprawling farmland. The history and the ambience of the room really set the tone for what would be a very special evening. The over two hour set (without an opening act) began with Willy performing “Thelma,” solo and acoustic. Then, almost one by one the other members emerged on the stage to join in “Wicked Twisted Road.” Throughout the show, they demonstrated their versatility and reach whether they dug deep from their own catalog to play “I Still Do” and “Back Around” or performed one of their staples, a cover of “Castanets.” They added in a new tune, Corb Lund’s 'Mein Deutsches Motorrad' (German Motorcycle) to “balance out” their favorite British motorcycle song (and fan favorite) “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.” A special moment, for both the audience and the band, whose pride was evident on their faces, was when Jay's father, Tom, joined them on stage and sang “Kansas City.” The pinnacle of the evening though was a true unplugged version of “Weatherbeaten Soul” where a quiet, peacefulness settled the room as everyone listened to what came pretty close to a religious experience. After serious applause, they returned to the stage and “rediscovered electricity” for two encores.
Night two was at The Sellersville Theater in PA, a venue with a rich and colorful history. Willy started off with “Outta Left Field” (yes indeed, a Percy Sledge cover folks) then the rest of the guys joined for “Weatherbeaten Soul.” Usually displaying his skills on the fiddle or mandolin, Lone Star Musician of the Year Cody took on lead vocals for a cover of “Windfall.” Throughout the night, their sound was powerful and polished whether they played old songs (“Mersey Beat”) or new (“Irish Goodbye”), ballads or out and out rockers (“Sixgun”). For a seated venue, the crowd was a lively one…calling out their praises and even dancing along the aisle for “Nobody’s Girl” and “Motel Cowboy Show.” At the end of both shows, the guys came out to meet, sign and take photos; something you don’t see many doing after eighteen years together.
Sunday brought them to the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino in CT. The set, which started out with “Good Luck and True Love,” was short and sweet, but never lacking, and included a Springsteen cover of “My Love Will Not Let You Down,” as the Boss himself was playing the arena that night.
Finally, Monday found them in Boston at the Sinclair. A 10pm Monday night show is a tough spot, and the venue was sadly not full, but arguably it was this night where they really seemed in their element. For a little over two hours, the audience got to experience a show that never lacked energy and enthusiasm and was just pure fun. They truly have a good time up there, not only with each other, but with the audience as well, as interaction via smiles, nods or even a guitar right in front of you is a pretty regular occurrence.
From Willy's vocals (which just seem to keep getting better) to Dave Abeyta’s insane guitar solos and Cody’s emotive fiddle, to Jay keeping the beat (which he can do pretty well even with his eyes closed) and Joe on bass, Reckless Kelly really is all about the music. Prior to “Save Me From Myself” Willy reminisced on younger days and spoke of how the “whippersnappers” of today are too involved with their electronics. He commended the crowd for not being on their cell phones all night and encouraged people to stay off of them, make friends, have fun, be in the moment and really experience the music. From "Ragged As The Road' to "Seven Nights in Eire," to "Crazy Eddie's Last Hurrah," that's exactly what the crowd did. The night closed out with a crazy good, extended version of “Running Down A Dream,” which was quite possibly better than the original.
Four shows that were completely different, with songs pulled from every one of their eight albums. Now how many bands have you seen that you can say that about? Reckless Kelly more than delivers on all counts. Versatility, true musicianship, and story songs by a band that never gives less than 110%. Plus, it’s always a heck of a good time.
Really, there is no amount of verbiage I can put on this page that gives justice to their live shows. Just take yourself to one when they are near (or far) from you and experience it for yourself….and keep your phone in your pocket.
RK posts their set lists on Facebook, make sure you check them out not only to see what they played, but also for Willy’s artwork which is show specific.