I’ve been searching for the perfect way to describe the Tommy James and The Shondells show on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the IP Casino Resort and I’m at an unusual, for me, loss for words. I don’t like to use old used-to-death rock writing cliches like “blew the roof off” or “burned it down.” No, I’m going to use a more basic approach — Tommy James and The Shondells rocked the IP. Seriously, it was one of the loudest, most energetic shows I’ve seen.
James opened the show with one of his biggest hits — “Dragging The Line” — which set a bold precedent for the rest of the show. Backed by a six-piece band, James went seamlessly through his songs such as “Hanky Panky” and “Say I Am,” all delivered with a punchy, edgy sound.
Somewhere around the middle of the set, James talked about his book “Me, The Mob and The Music” before launching into an acoustic arrangement of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” which he said had been recorded for the film adaptation of his book. He also played the original version of the song near the end of the show.
I’ve been fortunate to witness some truly iconic memorable musical moments on the Coast — from Paul Anka doing “Purple Rain” after Prince died and Sammy Hagar singing an acoustic version of “Dreams” and Toto performing “Africa.” And seeing Tommy James perform “Crimson and Clover” live is a dream for a music lover. James’ voice is still incredible and it really shined on “Crimson and Clover” at the IP.
Another real treat was seeing James perform his song “Tighter, Tighter,” which was recorded by Alive ‘N Kickin’. This is one of my favorite songs from when I was a child and would listen to AM radio for hours and hours.
If you missed Tommy James’ first appearance at the IP, you really missed out on one of the best shows of 2017. The year is early — get out there and support live music on the Coast.