Denny Laine hits the road with Steve Holley and the Cryers for a string of intimate shows billed the 40th Anniversary of Wings Over America.
09-Aug-2016: Founding member of both The Moody Blues and Paul McCartney and Wings, Denny Laine, backed by long-time friend and former Wings bandmate Steve Holley, and New Jersey-based band The Cryers showcased songs from a 50-year career including original material and a bit of storytelling. The collaboration kicked things off with James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy” from the first album by The Moody Blues.
The next two hours treated the small but enthusiastic crowd to sets that fluctuated from show to show. Songs featured in Louisville and Lexington included Moody Blues numbers like “Boulevard de la Madelaine,” “Can’t Nobody Love You,” and “Lose Your Money But Don’t Lose Your Mind” along with “Again and Again and Again,” “Deliver Your Children,” “No Words,” and “Children Children” from Wings. In Louisville, he performed a new song called “Last Laugh” for the very first time. In Lexington, he did the folk-based song from the solo album Arctic Song, “The Scrimshaw Carver.” Between songs, Denny would throw in snippets of songs such as “Hi, Hi, Hi” and “Nights in White Satin” amidst banter and jokes with Steve Holley.
Midway through the evening, the band left the stage to Denny Laine and his acoustic guitar to perform a few fan favorites from Wings Over America including “Richard Cory” and “Picasso’s Last Words.” Along with the acoustic set, another definite highlight included “Go Now,” a song which was both the first major hit single for the Moody Blues, and featured on the Wings Over America tour.
To finish the night off on a high note, they performed “Live and Let Die” and closed with “Band on the Run,” having everyone on their feet clapping and singing along. It was a fantastic night of music with outstanding performances by Denny Laine and company. Afterward, he mingled with fans, signed autographs, and took pictures with anyone who wanted one.
Touring with Denny Laine is Steve Holley on drums and from The Cryers are Joe Orlando on bass, Belle Liao on keyboards, and Jeff Brown on guitar and harmonica.
After the set in Lexington, we sat down with Denny for a few minutes and discussed a number of topics, including the current tour and Wings Over America.
On this tour and the flexible set lists: “It has to be [different]. We’re learning new stuff, seeing what works, getting tighter as a band. We are working toward something bigger so, we need this … Steve works a lot with other people. [The Cryers] do too, [and] so do I, but since we did this last year, we wanted to build more shows around this area… We’ve done a lot of East Coast stuff in general, but not with Steve so much, and he’s invaluable. We’re trying to do places we’ve never done before…We’re repeating [other] places, so you’re building a rapport with people you’ve seen before.”
On being an original member of Wings: “Well, you have to remember that I knew Paul from the early days. We were friends way before I became involved with Wings, and he wanted to put something together that was more of original music so that he wouldn’t have to rely on The Beatles scene, and what else was he going to do? He had to find somebody that he knew … So, he picked up the phone and called me and said, ‘You want to put a band together?’ and I said yeah…He knew I wasn’t gonna be like in awe of him, like some big fan, and that’s always difficult when you’re working.
On his collaboration and working relationship with Paul McCartney: “We were always very professional in our thinking, you know, when it came to work … Obviously, the other side too of being successful is all of the tension you get, the distractions, and all the rest of it, which you deal with … It can be disruptive to what you’re trying to do so, the whole idea of going to Scotland [for Mull of Kintyre] was to just get back to being ordinary people without those distractions. So really, it was easy, and it built. Of course, we had a couple of hits and tours. Live tours are what did it. We gathered an audience like this.”
On Wings Over America, the first US tour, being such a huge success: “[It was a huge tour] because we built up to it…You gotta remember that. You know, we’d done Europe, we’d done England, that whole stepping stone thing. It had to be good. It had to be good for [Paul] alone, but never mind him, what about me? I didn’t want to come out there and look like an idiot … We rehearsed the hell outta that thing.”
“You see a show like this, and you think ‘Oh, it’s the same old joke. It’s the same old song,’ but when we did that it was note-for-note every day for like a month, six weeks, working it, getting it really good, tight. Because you can’t go out there and not know what you’re doing … So, it was well planned, well rehearsed. The publicity and everything was done in a big way.”
Look for Denny Laine, Steve Holley, and The Cryers continuing the on “40th Anniversary of Wings Over America” mid-September in NYC, Berlin, NJ, and Misquamicut State Beach RI.
You can find additional information on the Cryers Facebook page link below.