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The Willie Nile Band ~ 2016 January 11 ~ The Narrows Center for the Arts ~ Fall River, MA

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Band Personnel: Willie Nile, lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Matt Hogan, lead guitar, vocals; Johnny Pisano, bass, vocals; Jon Weber, drums.

Set List

Runnin' Down a Dream {Tom Petty} - This Is Our Time - Cell Phones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead - Black Magic & White Lies - Forever Wild - Life on Bleecker Street - Heaven Help the Lonely - Magdalena - Road to Calvary - If I Ever See the Light - Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 {Dylan} - House of a Thousand Guitars - Hard Times in America - Blowin' in the Wind {Dylan} - One Guitar ... encore ... Children of Paradise - You Gotta Be A Buddha (In A Place Like This)


Willie Nile has changed his style of presentation dramatically since I first saw him. He no longer plays any piano (it has been three years since I have seen Willie play piano in a live show), and he has completely dropped any ballads or quiet songs from the set. The show nowadays is all about rock 'n' roll! Every song got the full-blown rocker treatment, even the usually quiet "Road to Calvary," even Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind." That Dylan classic as a full-blown rocker is really fun. As Willie's most recent CD release is his album of covers of Dylan tunes (Positively Bob), he also treated the small but enthusiastic audience to "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35."

Along with Johnny Pisano on bass and Matt Hogan on lead guitar, the band included former Rock Of Ages drummer Jon Weber, who bashed away at his drum kit with such vigor that he had to readjust the kit several times during the evening.

Willie and company were having a fun time despite the fairly small crowd. Willie didn't talk a whole lot between songs, but he did invoke the spirit of rock band ACDC with praise for their simplicity. His relatively new full-blown rock persona is quite in keeping with his praise for ACDC. Whether a fan prefers the new rock 'n' roll Willie or the former singer/songwriter Willie is a matter of personal taste.

It had been over a year since I had seen Willie and it was delightful to chat with him, Johnny, and merch girl Cathy after the show. I was happy to see that, in addition to Nile CDs and t-shirts, the merch table was also selling copies of Johnny Pisano's recent solo CD, Everybody Gets a Slice by Johnny Pisano's Punk Rock Pizzeria.

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