The reformed Righteous Brothers made a stop at the Riviera Theater this past Thursday night. After touring solo for years since the death of his longtime signing partner Bobby Hatfield, Bill Medley decided to put together the group once again. This time he found vocalist Bucky Heard. Heard agree to join up with Medley and reform the group in early 2016. The last time Medley was in the WNY area was for a solo show back in early 2012. So, this marked the first time he has performed in the area in over a decade. Accompanying Medley and Heard were a 8 piece backing band.
The two took the stage and sang “Hold On, I’m Comin.” There was a lot of comradery between Medley & Heard right off the bat. They sang, told stories and sang off of each other. This continued throughout the show. Heard stated his favorite song that The Righteous Brothers did was “Rock and Roll Heaven.” Medley dedicated the song to his former partner Bobby Hatfield. You got a first glimpse of what Heard can do solo as he tackled the Roy Orbinson track “Crying.” Most were floored with the range and power he displayed. You can see why Medley picked him to replace Hatfield. Medley sang one of the Righteous Brothers biggest hits in “Unchained Melody” by himself.” A video of Hatfield accompanied the song as this was Hatfield’s most famous track he did. For “Great Gettin’ Up in the Morning,” the entire band (minus the drummer) came to the front of the stage and sang the song. The drummer provided tambourine for the backbeat. Heard had the spotlight to himself again as he sang “Ebb Tide.” For the track “Koko Joe,” Medley talked about his relationship with Elvis Presley and remarked how this was his favorite song they did. Medley jumped behind the keyboards for a bit as Tim Lee played harmonica for “Koko Joe” and later “California Dreamin” as well. Before “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Medley asked for the veterans to stand up and take a bow and dedicated the song to them for their service. Both backup singers came up to sing this song with both Heard and Medley. This was backup vocalist Stephanie Calvert Marion’s first show and she did a commendable job singing “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” with Medley. One of the highlights of the evening was Buckley doing the Italian classic “Nessun Dorma.” Not only did he sing this with conviction but he also sang it in Italian. What a performance on this song. Medley explained he didn’t believe in leaving the stage for an encore. So, they stayed and they closed with their 1964 number one hit in “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.”
At 82 years young, Medley doesn’t have the range and power he once had. Even with that said, he still has a good enough voice and one hell of a stage presence to still give the fans a terrific show. What a great choice in selecting Heard to be his partner. They worked extremely well together. Heard had a lot of respect and appreciation for the songs. His overall performance showed that.
Hold On, I’m Comin (Sam & Dave cover)
Just Once in my Life
Little Latin Lupe Lu
You’re My Soul and Inspiration (Barry Mann cover)
Rock and Roll Heaven (Climax featuring Sonny Geraci cover)
Crying (Roy Orbinson cover)
Young Blood (The Coasters cover)
Unchained Melody (Hy Zaret and Alex North cover)
Great Gettin’ Up in the Morning (Mahalia Jackson cover)
EBB Tide (Carl Sigman cover)
Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel cover)/Lean on Me – snippet (Bill Withers cover)
(I’ve Had) Time of my Life (Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes cover)
California Dreamin’ (The Mama and Papas cover)
This Will be the Last Time (Bill Medley song)
Nessun Dorma (Giacomo Puccini cover)
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ (Barry Mann cover)
We would like to thank David Fillenwarth from the Riviera Theater for the credentials to review the show.