After a year absence, The Randy Rogers Band and Stoney LaRue returned to the Big Apple this past Friday night at the Best Buy Theater in the heart of Times Square. Both artists, two of the mainstays on the Texas music scene for a better part of fifteen years, have well crafted songs, performed by skilled musicians who clearly still have a good time touring after all of these years.
Without any airplay on terrestrial radio in the tri-state area, the crowd that turned out was an enthusiastic one who knew practically every word to every song, proving that people don't rely solely on Top 40 to find their music.
LaRue opened the show with a too short forty-five minute set of a fan chosen (via twitter) set list. He and his band played "Look At Me Fly," "Aviator," "Wiregrass," "Texas Moon," as well as "Box #10," "Idabel Blues," "Empty Glass," "Velvet" and "Oklahoma Breakdown" to a crowd that appreciated every second of it. His time on stage felt like a big jam session (that's a good thing) with LaRue having no issue letting his band share the spotlight. LaRue was animated, grateful and even inspirational in his comments. He truly appeared to be having a terrific time while being slightly overwhelmed at the crowd's response to his music. They closed out with a "Guitarmageddon" showcasing his band's remarkable skills on a little bit of Petty's "Runnin' Down A Dream."
Rogers walked out around 9:25pm and played an hour and a half set in the middle of which my friend (who is originally from Texas) noted "wow, he has had a lot of hits!" That he does and he pretty much played them all and then some. Although Rogers is the front man, he, like LaRue, has no problem letting the members of his band shine. While Les Lawless [percussion] stayed in the rear, Johnny Chops came front and center to play harmonica on "Trouble" and sing. Additionally, Geoffrey Hill [lead guitar] and Brady Black [fiddle] continually provide entertainment with their fun personalities and engaging presence. They opened with "Too Late For Goodbye" and continued through over twenty songs including "Flash Flood," "Standards," "Interstate," "Down and Out" and "Last, Last Chance" before returning to the stage after chants from the crowd of "Randy, Randy" to close with "Kiss Me In The Dark."
There was no need for backdrops, special effects or other hoopla. It was all about the music and Rogers and LaRue delivered. Rogers has said that his goal is to get people out of the house, singing, dancing and having a good time. That mission was most certainly accomplished.
Rogers and his band have just completed a new record. LaRue's Aviator is out now.