Concert Review: Richard Barone and Nick Celeste, Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ, 3/8/14

Written by Concert Reviews, Music

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At this point, I think I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve seen Richard Barone and Nick Celeste perform; that’s how much I enjoy seeing/hearing them.  They never fail to put on a great show; their harmonies are silky smooth and it is always a joy.  So last night was a trek to a new venue to visit, Mexicali Live, in Teaneck, New Jersey.  A not-bad drive got us there in time for our 6 p.m. dinner reservation – yes, this was dinner and a show.  In a rare instance, since this was a Saturday night out, a round of beers was in order and the conversation flowed as we waited for Mexican food and music – to which it has to be said, the iPod that was playing the background music needed someone to control it as the repetition of the “shuffle” mode was evident that someone only seems to listen to Queen, Annie Lennox and U2 (!).  The food was decent; the beer was cold and the show began with a band called Windsor Circle.  Musically tight; a very clean sound with – to my ears – elements of The Buzzcocks in the guitar sounds and the firepower of the rhythm section.  After their set was over, the next band was another local group called Precious Bones, who seemed to lean toward a goth-ish sound.

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Richard and Nick took to the stage and opened with a water-tight version on “River To River” and straight into “Before You Were Born”.  Their connection with the audience came across quickly and the emotion was felt as they did “I Belong To Me” (a very personal favorite) and “Tangled In Your Web” from Cool Blue Halo.  Their harmonies were rich; their acoustic guitars, crisp and clear – considering everyone on stage during the evening was having to ask the sound engineer to make adjustments.

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The other highlights of the set included Richard doing a solo version of “It’s Only Love”, Richard and Nick trading lead powerhouse Lennon vocals on a sweet rendition of “This Boy” (previously untested yet completely charming and successful) and an emotional reading of “All Tomorrow’s Parties”.  The duo were joined by the members of Precious Bones for a few songs from The Bongos’ Drums Along The Hudson and another personal favorite, “Glow” (from the 2010 album of the same name); the set closed with the epic “The Bulrushes” and a fan requested “To The Pure” which rang up a few tears in its emotional impact.

As always, a Richard Barone live performance is a great time.  When it’s a performance of Richard with Nick Celeste, it’s pure gold.

Photos by Liz Ross and Rob Ross (Featured Image)