Timothy B Schmit & Richie Furay – The Saban Theater, Beverly Hills, CA – 12/3/17
Review: Patrick Ben Oviedo, Jr
Pictures: Marie Gregorio-Oviedo
Built in 1930, The Saban Theatre shows all the classic designs elements of the by gone era of vaudeville music acts, an architectural blend of neoclassic features and eye popping Art Deco. Since then it has been modernized with state of the art camera and stage light works that only the best money can buy. With warm full friendly acoustics and not a bad seat in the house, you might say this type of venue has been in fact designed for one purpose only. A place to journey to. To trip on. A place made to show case only the most talented musical acts with flawless musicianship, beautiful voices, and heartfelt soulful kick ass song writing. That is exactly what you get when you showcase Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Legends, Timothy B Schmit, with a feature of Richie Furay.
Be it by divine intervention or simply brilliant booking, featuring a show with Timothy B Schmit and Richie Furay is fact just that, brilliant divine intervention. What should be noted is that both of these musicians/song writers go back a long way. Early in his career Timothy was taken in under the wing of Richie and mentored on to a world of music that has in fact set the foundation for song writing in much of the music industry. This was not at all lost by the humble and honest man that is Timothy B Schmit. A rare quality in the entertainment industry.
To open the show, Richie Furay, showcasing his beautiful daughter Jesse Lynch, sang a number of songs written for the legendary group Poco of which both he and Timothy were integral parts of.
Furayʼs mastery of songwriting are at the very foundation of inspiration for just about every country music and country rock group that has followed and succeeded since those early days of Furayʼs various groups. His tones in the very fiber of most country rock song composers today. To finish his set Jesse Lynch sang a solo and what can be certain is that beautiful music is as genetic a trait as are blue eyes. This trait so resounded in her voice and performance of their rendition of “When The Diamonds Fall.”
You might think having to follow Richie Furay on stage is a real tough act to follow and by all accounts that is true. Fortunately for the audience the main act was Timothy B Schmit.
In a sense a protege of Mr Furay, but now also a master composer and song writer who has in over four decades established his own foundation into the bed rock of country rock music. Having worked all over the place, as most know the Eagles and of course Poco, Timothy also worked with Ringo Starr and his All Star Band, Linda Ronstadt, Steely Dan, Jimmy Buffet, Coral Reefer Band, and yes he even did a stint singing back-up vocals for Twisted Sister and Poison. All and all Timothyʼs experience as an artist stand as a testament to not only his work ethic, but to the limitless flexibility and enduring beautiful quality of his voice.
Joining Timothy were a group of musicians that have clearly earned their own way by work ethic and through the quality of mastery of their own perspective instruments. Timothy being a bass player himself would not likely hire just any bass player to back him up. The result of that knowledge culminated in Chris Farmer, former musical director for the Beach Boys, who also harmonized on vocals. On guitar Bobby Carlos with ample experience playing Lap Slide guitar, but who also put in time as a guitar technician for such names as K.D Lang and the Eagles. Also on guitar in various form was multi-dexterous instrumentalist and renowned music producer Hank Linderman. On drums Herman Matthews who has the distinction of playing for a number of years with Tower of Power, Kenny Loggins and Tom Jones, but who also literally has played for everyone that is anyone in the music industry. Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Steve Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Carol King, Eric Bourbon and the Animals etc, etc, Playing Rock, Blues, Jazz, R&B, and Funk for so many world renowned artist that listing them all would be almost endless.
If such quality of musicians were not enough, singing background vocals were also three ladies, Marlena, Lynn and Martinet with the most mesmerizing voices imaginable and thus with a classic theater and acoustics in place, musicians at the ready and angelic voices to lull the audience into a trance it was time to take that journey.
The thing about Timothyʼs song writing is the transparency with which he expresses his own life experiences into those songs. Songs that tell stories about old friends, songs about personal weakness, about life and love, love lost, love forlorn, love regained and anew. Songs that at one point or another the whole audience could relate to because we have all had those experiences, and now you get to sit there and listened to someone with a golden voice sing about that stuff in such a way that your left in awe. Wondering about what went wrong or what went right and you just want to hear more. From the opening with “One More Mile.” You realize the heart warming, delicate melodies are only surpassed by the brilliant, honest lyrics, which in turn are only surpassed by Timothyʼs distinct golden melodious voice.
Following on “My Hat” a song about personal frailties with some great lyrics, the audience was treated to guest musician John McFee from the Doobie Brothers on slide guitar, who then stayed on for the remainder of the show playing various guitars. Safe to say Timothy knows some people.
On songs “The Shadow,” “Ella Jean,” and “Youʼre So Wild,” Timothy really pulls all the stops on his own vocals flexing the muscle of his vocal range, which was further enhanced by the amazing background singers performing with him this night. On “White Boy from Sacramento.” Timothyʼs background singers seem to have a bit a fun with the piece literally pointing out the white boy in their dance routine as they sang their parts.
“Downtime” like the songs “One More Mile,” and “My Hat,” treated the audience to some of Timothy’s poetic lyrical brilliance of which interestingly enough were also the songs most about our short comings.
Changing up the pace a bit with some slick rock cords was “Parachute,” which was introduced with a groovy bass line and great guitar riff. The song culminated in a great 70ʻs hard rock style guitar solo trade off between guest musicians Hank Linderman and John McFee.
If you love the flavor country music “Red Dirt Road,” “Friday Night” and “A Good Day” are classy, romantic songs you can sink your teeth into with just the right touch of bluesy soulful background vocals.
Now you canʼt have a show with Timothy B Schmit without a couple renditions of Poco songs, especially when your opening performer was Richie Furay and as the audience could only hope and expect Timothy invited his old friend and mentor to return to the stage and perform with him. “I Can See Everything,” and “Just For You and Me,” but of particular note was when they got around to performing ʻKeep On Trying,” virtually leaving the audience in tears of nostalgia.
With a stage full of legendary musicians Timothy went on to perform some classic Eagles songs, “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” and “I Canʼt Tell You Why.”
When the show was all said and done, Timothy and company granted the fully satisfied audience with an encore of masterfully performed Eagles songs, “I Donʼt Want To Hear Anymore” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” and then finally the all time classic Poco song “A Good Feeling To Know.”
It is impossible to say for certain which of all the songs rendered onto stage this night was the best performance of the night. In the end It was all about the individual experience of each member of the audience to decide for them selves. Each having their moment of repose between each song to venture onto feelings of personal journeys and nostalgia. I do believe that is exactly what great music is suppose to do, and with that I just want to say, Thanks Timothy. Thank you for a really Great Trip.