Live Review: Patty Smyth and Scandal

Patti Smyth and Scandal
B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
June 13, 2009
Review by David Chiu

One of the first Scandal songs I heard back in the early ‘80s was “Love’s Got a Line On You.” I thought then it was one of the greatest pop songs ever—even listening to it again today, it’s still sounds magnificent. In fact, “Love’s Got a Line On You” was also one of the first 45 singles I bought; its flipside was “Goodbye To You,” which continues to be one of the band’s most popular hits.

So it seemed appropriate that “Love’s Got a Line On You” would be the first song that opened Patti Smyth and Scandal’s show on Saturday at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill. The band, which reunited a few years ago, and featuring original members Patty Smyth, Keith Mack and Benjy King, was making a homecoming appearance at the comfy and cozy venue. Thus, it turned out to be special in more ways than one.

For those who need a refresher course, Scandal was a pop-rock band formed in New York City that emerged at the height of the early ‘80s New Wave scene. They released a hugely successful EP in 1982—it contained “Goodbye to You and “Love’s Got a Line On You.” That was followed by their first, and so far only, full-length album, The Warrior (1984), which yielded a hit in the title track. Shortly after, the band broke up and singer Smyth went on to a solo career. Her biggest hit was the ballad “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” in 1992. Now that Scandal is back, Smyth and company are planning to release their first new album of original material in 25 years.

The set list from Saturday’s show mainly drew from the EP and The Warrior album as well as Smyth’s 1992 solo album. It was a seamless mix of upbeat power pop rockers (“Beat of a Heart,” “Talk to Me”) and mature, heartfelt music (“Wish I Were You,” “No Mistakes”). One of the pleasant surprises during the set was I Should Be Laughing, a great song off of Smyth’s previous solo album that should have been a bigger hit upon its initial release. The band also performed a new song, Hard To Make You Love Me, which sounds like a classic Patty Smyth/Scandal track and is a promising indicator of the new music to come.

As far as the band’s performance goes, the musicians, including new members Eran Asias and Tom Welsch, were on the mark and sounded tight. But certainly the focal point was Smyth who vocally still got it—her singing sounded stronger as the evening went on, especially on the ballads Sometimes Love and No Mistakes. Her moves and attitude still conveyed feistiness while also displaying a charming sense of humor in between songs; at one point she got off stage and sang and navigated to the audience members sitting at the tables during “Talk to Me.”

Two interesting highlights came during the encore. The first was the band’s cover of Ike and Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High, which closed the show. The second and perhaps somewhat surreal was moment when tennis great (and Smyth’s husband) John McEnroe got on stage with the band. He sang and played guitar for a rocking version of “What a Wonderful World.”

Set List:

1. Love’s Got a Line On You
2. Heartache Heard Round The World
3. Hands Tied
4. Talk To Me
5. Beat of a Heart
6. Isn’t It Enough
7. Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough
8. Hard For You To Love Me (new song)
9. No Mistakes
10. I Should Be Laughing
11. The Warrior
12. Wish I Were You
13. Goodbye To You

14. What a Wonderful World (featuring John McEnroe)
15. River Deep, Mountain High

For an interview with Patty Smyth in, click here:

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