Sweet harmonythe EVERLY BROTHERS with MURRAY McLAuCHLAN at Massey Hall, May 17. Tickets: $29-$55. Attendance: 2,000. Rating: NNN
choosing his concert appear-
ances carefully, chat-show guest-for- hire Murray McLauchlan lucked out with an Everly Brothers opening spot.
The elderly crowd on hand seemed to regard McLauchlan as a young upstart and offered encouraging applause for his insufferably quaint piano ditties about drinking martinis and growing old. Ugh. It may be time to trade in that leather jacket for a cardigan.
What a relief to discover that Don and Phil Everly weren't also angling for the lounge circuit. Smiling, waving and strumming their matching black acoustic guitars, they're professional enough to leave their family squabbles backstage. That didn't stop anyone from reading their own subtext into So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad).
There were no dirty looks exchanged, but neither was there any witty banter. In fact, they only glanced briefly at each other a few times throughout the whole show, and that was done only to insure their voices were synched.
They didn't come to be chummy -- their job, as they understood it, was to sing the old favourites, and they sold those soaring harmonies with feeling.
Even the abridged versions of their mournful hit ballads, which Don laughingly referred to as their deadly medley, turned unexpectedly poignant when they got to the Love Hurts part. It's the moments you don't see coming that hit the hardest.
The Everlys tried to bring the mood up by launching into a couple of rockers. Only, every time the tempo increased, their hired Brit backing band, which included versatile session pianist Pete Wingfield and pedal steel supremo Buddy Emmons, flounced around jauntily instead of digging in.
The evening's highlight was the "back to the roots" segment, in which the jobbers were jettisoned and Don joined Phil in back-porch versions of Long Time Gone and the Delmore Brothers' Blues Stay Away From Me.
At last they let loose the full power of those brilliant brother harmonies, and the result was breathtaking. They'd be wise to drop the excess baggage and return to performing as a duo. TIM PERLICH