March 4, 2022 by Joel Shover
Nestled in the heart of Southwestern State College campus sits one of Southwest Florida’s hidden gems, The Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall. This hall boasts seating for up to 1,874 people, so, to see The Little River Band here to say the least is very intimate and special.
On Friday March 4th, 2022, The Little River Band along with the South Florida Rock Orchestra graced the stage of Barbara B Mann to perform a catalog of hits from the seventies to now. Playing for a sold-out crowd the band opened with the 1976 international debut single “It’s a Long Way There.” From there they did not stop one beat as they jumped into the 1981 hit “Man on Your Mind”.
Keeping the crowd engaged, instructions were given for singing along with the next hit from 1977 “Happy Anniversary” that featured Chris Marion with a heavy Keytar solo. I told you the Keytar is making a comeback. Just imagine what Mark Mercier of Max Creek could do with one of those at Camp Creek this year. Guitar Center has ’em!
With the crowd all warmed up, the band then returned to the 1981 album Time Exposure for the top-ten hit “Take It Easy on Me.” It was now time to explain how members became members of a band that has members with members and some other members. Got all that? We got the cliff notes version with “The Other Guy” another classic song from the eighties. There were new tunes to hear tonight as well, after 47 years of music there is new music.
“Lost and the Lonely” from the album Cuts Like a Diamond, told a story of how a child in these modern times goes off to war to serve, painting a very patriotic background including red, white, and blue lightshow complimenting the band and paying tribute to those that never made it home from their service and gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“I’m an Island,” a song about starting over, was the next melodic song from Cuts like a Diamond. It was back to 1978 for a little “Reminiscing.” This rendition reminds us that some old hits were once new songs. When the crowd finished singing walking through the park and reminiscing the band went right back into the patriotic theme addressing current events with a little hope dedicating “Help Is on Its Way” to every soldier we know!
The BBMann was rocking hard at this point as Ryan Ricks took full spotlight for a supreme drum solo leading us into “The Night Owls,” another track from Time Exposure. The time was now as the spotlight shined on Chris Marion once again this time on his Yamaha keyboards as the whole venue stood silently awaiting the first notes of “Cool Change,” as fans swayed back and forth in their seats and sang along.
“Lady” another 1978 classic was taking us to our next sing-along. As fans got up and started to leave the band stated they had one more hit for this sold-out crowd. “Lonesome Loser” the 1979 hit that peaked at number 6 overall on Billboards Top 40. Seeing these songs performed with a 7-piece orchestra cannot be expressed in any other words than wow amazing!
Go See Live Music! Till The Next Show…. Joel
Listen to the complete performance:
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