Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Concert Review 1987 (Allentown, PA) - Tommy Conwell Does It His Way

The Morning Call, Saturday, March 7, 1987 

Tommy Conwell Does It His Way
by Paul Willistein 

Tommy Conwell has arrived. You could tell the minute you stepped into the Green Pine Inn, Allentown, where the mood was more that of an arena rock concert rather than a club on a Thursday night. Conwell and the Young Rumblers, performing songs from their album, “Walking On the Water,” didn’t disappoint, presenting one of the best shows – club or concert – in the Lehigh Valley in years. 

For those not familiar with Philadelphia’s latest favorite, Conwell, whose single “I’m Not Your Man” is getting airplay, he could be compared to several rockers. With short-cropped blond hair and a muscular frame, Conwell resembles a nice-guy Billy Idol (if that’s possible). He wrings licks from his Gibson hollow-body like guitarist George Thorogood. Vocally, there are inflections of Graham Parker, Joe Jackson, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, and (I thought) Steve Miller. So, wasn’t I surprised when he sang Miller’s “Space Cowboy.” 

Conwell, however, has his own style. His material and presentation has matured from the rockabilly of his previous band. His first set was very pop-oriented, while the second was nearly all rhythm and blues. By the time Conwell walked the bar while playing his guitar – without spilling a drink, it might be pointed out – it seemed like the most natural thing to do. He writes very likeable songs and puts on a terrific, old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll show. 

Here is that night's setlist:

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