Concert Review: The Long Ryders, September 14, Horseshoe Tavern

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“We haven’t been here in 30 years. Thanks for coming out!”

So said The Long Ryders‘ Sid Griffin a couple of songs into the band’s set at The Horseshoe Tavern on Saturday night and as far as gaps go, that is indeed a rather long one. Griffin made further reference to the long break later on in the set when introducing one song as the band’s “last single”, then laughing and adding, ” … from 1987.” So yes, it’s been awhile, but The Long Ryders are back on the road and were back in Toronto for the first time in decades. And it was certainly a welcome return.

While the band has reunited for the occasional tour over the years, their current tour is happening in the wake of the release of their first album in over 30 years, Psychedelic Country Soul. As comeback albums go, it’s a strong return for the band, continuing on where they left off with some fine, Byrds-indebted country rock offerings (Griffin even noted that the album has ranked highly on a couple of Americana charts, joking that he’s got the screenshots to prove it).

Highlights from the new album include “Greenville”, “Molly Somebody”, and the band’s stellar cover of Tom Petty’s “Walls”, all of which stood out as memorable moments during the live set alongside classics such as “Gunslinger Man”, “Looking For Lewis And Clark”, and “State Of My Union.” Another highlight of the night came from watching bassist Tom Stevens each time he was given the chance to switch over to lead guitar. This is, of course, not to disparage Stephen McCarthy’s playing in any way as he was also great, but it was quite fun to watch Stevens really let loose each time he took the lead – when he took over, he really took over. Speaking of McCarthy though, seeing him sing “Lights Of Downtown” was definitely my favourite moment of the whole evening.

All in all, it was a fun show for both the audience (there was a small group enthusiastically dancing through pretty much the entire show) and for the band, with Griffin thanking the crowd again at the end of the night and adding that this was “the most enjoyable show of the tour” so far.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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