By Annette Higby/bphotous.com
What: The Mike Reilly Band
When: April 21, 2012
Where: Carlsbad Village Theatre, Carlsbad, California
The Mike Reilly Band performed at the historic Carlsbad Village Theatre recently, which was fitting as the concert was presented along with a historical pictorial review of the band’s history. You couldn’t have asked for a better or more intimate setting in the comfortable theatre, and the audience was obviously still as devoted and loyal since Mike first began playing 28 years ago with the likes of Gregg Allman, Joe Walsh, Elvin Bishop and Garth Hudson, to name but a few. Their powerful rock and blues music definitely struck a reminiscent chord with everyone in the audience, yet the music was fresh as ever, grabbing hold of you and not letting go. After an 18-year hiatus, the band is performing together again. The years fell away as their joy showed in their enthusiasm in playing together and their obvious skill with their instruments.
The band members include Calvin Hardy on bass, playing with Mike since 1974; Danny Ott on guitar and vocals, playing with Mike since 1986; Sean Finnigan on keyboards and vocals, playing with Mike since 1987; and Mark T. Williams on drums, playing with Mike since 1985 (son of the well-known conductor, John Williams).
The first song, “Mad Dog”, began with impressive, resounding guitars that grabbed our attention, followed by “All My Money” and “Teeny Weeny Bit”. Danny Ott then performed “County Jail”, direct from the soul, followed by “Who’s Been Talking”.
Geno Michellini, a former DJ from Los Angeles, shared the story of how he met Mike Reilly way back when he was an up and coming performer with Gregg Allman. Geno took their cassette tape and broke this newest band on air with their song, “Skunked”, which was then performed for us live.
The concert continued with “Turn on Your Love Light”, “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?” (title song of their earlier CD), “Nothing But the Blues” and then “Love in Vain” performed by Danny Ott. The performance ended with “Going Down Slow”, “One Way Out” and “Hot Lanta”. The crowd gave a standing ovation and then chants of “Reilly, Reilly” shook the rafters until the band came back and played “Don’t Lie to Me”, with Mike bringing out a small, square experimental guitar for the final song.
The Mike Reilly Band’s newest CD, “Reilly’s Road”, includes 17 songs and the band is now on a 15-state tour. The special guests playing along with the Mike Reilly Band on this CD include Gregg Allman, Elvin Bishop, Dan Toler, Garth Hudson, The Phantom Blues Band, Taj Majal, Bill Champlin, Kid Ramos and Mike Finnigan.