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The Willie Nile Duo ~ 2011 May 7 ~ One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME

... by Joanne Corsano

Johnny Pisano and Willie Nile
Johnny Pisano and Willie Nile
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Band personnel: Willie Nile (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, electric piano); Johnny Pisano (backing vocals, bass guitar)

Set List

Seeds of a Revolution - Rite of Spring - Sing Me a Song - I've Got a Girl - God Laughs - Rich and Broken - Streets of New York - Back Home - Sunrise in New York City - American Ride ... intermission ... House of a Thousand Guitars - Run - Holy War - Les Champs-Élysées - Road to Calvary - Yesterday's Dreams - The Crossing - Love is a Train - Rave On {Buddy Holly} - The Innocent Ones - One Guitar ... encore ... Saving My Semen For You - Cell Phones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead

Scroll down past the videos for review; photo gallery to the right.


"The Innocent Ones":

"Les Champs-Élysées":


Willie Nile and his bass player, Johnny Pisano, played a duo show at One Longfellow Square, an excellent venue where they really know their music, in the surprisingly hip small city of Portland, Maine.

The absence of any other musicians put the pressure on Johnny, and that debonaire star of stage and screen (or at least sometimes TV extra) rose to the challenge, playing very lead-like riffs on his bass guitar. Johnny is also the perfect backing vocalist for Willie, as their voices blend well together and Johnny has a lot of power and tone in his singing. Willie played an electric keyboard on a number of the songs. The stripped down musical approach worked amazingly well. It occurred to me that Willie Nile owes a great deal to the folk realm. Not only did he not object to One Longfellow's usual format of taking an intermission (which is normally a folk thing, not a rock thing), but he was perfectly able to fill the room with sound from just two musicians. Many of Willie's songs owe a real debt to folk ideas, and although you'll find him filed under "rock" in the record store, he can convince me that he belongs in both universes.

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