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Willie Nile Band ~ 2014 October 16 ~ Ridgefield Playhouse ~ Ridgefield, CT

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Matt Hogan
Matt Hogan, lead guitarist extraordinaire
click thumbnail to see a photo gallery
of the concert

Personnel: Willie Nile, lead vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, harmonica; Johnny Pisano, bass, backing vocals; Matt Hogan, lead guitar, backing vocals; Alex Alexander (drums).

Set List

note: Willie played electric guitar except where noted

Streets of New York [piano, harmonica] - This Is Our Time - Life on Bleecker Street - The Innocent Ones - Rich and Broken - If I Ever See the Light - Cell Phones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead - Sunrise in New York City [piano] - Love is a Train [piano] - American Ride [acoustic guitar] - Golden Down - Sweet Jane {Lou Reed} - House of a Thousand Guitars - One Guitar {accompanied by members of Three Legged Dog} ... encore ... (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction {Rolling Stones}

Scroll down past the videos for review.


"This Is Our Time"

"Cell Phones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead"


I love the semi-acoustic duo and trio shows from Willie & Company; those shows emphasize his superb songwriting, including his sensitive side, and also give bass player Johnny Pisano a real chance to shine. But when the full band is in the house, the audience is treated to a full-on rock 'n' roll show that is bursting with energy and unbridled joy.

Tonight's show was at the Ridgefield Playhouse, a venue you wouldn't really expect Willie to play, a great big concert hall with a huge stage on which one could seat a full symphony orchestra, a full proscenium arch, and a fancy lobby. Along with those luxuries came extraordinarily good sound (I could hear every peep of all the backing vocals, always the hardest test for the soundman), and a stellar light show that added exciting visual effects to the show. The venue was easy to find if you took Route 7 into Ridgefield, hard to find if you took Route 33.

Because the stage was so big, it gave Willie and company plenty of room to prance around. Matt, playing his lead guitar like a repeating rifle, sometimes pointing it to the sky, moved effortlessly from his microphone to the front of the stage, where a couple of lucky audience members got to "help" him play, once the audience started to leap out of their seats and crowd around the stage, toward the end of the show. Johnny spent parts of the show up on Alex's drum platform and got a few good leaps off the platform back onto the stage. Willie himself moved around energetically, engaging the audience with his patented sincerity and love of the music. The music was loud and the sound was great! In short, they blew the roof off the place.

There were no new songs played, but there were a couple of delightful surprises, particularly "If I Ever See the Light" from American Ride and "Golden Down," the title track from Willie's criminally underappreciated second album.

The show was opened by a half-hour set from Three Legged Dog, a skilled country band composed of two guitars, bass, drums, and a sax. (Wouldn't that be Five Legged Dog?) The band joined Willie and Company for "One Guitar," which closed Willie's main set.

After the show the fog had set in, and it was a misty drive back to our motel for Concert Going Partner and me.

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