There’s always some kind of shakin’ going on with Eddie Money.
Only this time, it’s with his band lineup.
When the ‘80s hit-maker returned to House of Blues on Saturday on his Sound of Money tour, it was without longtime companions Glenn Symmonds (drums), Chris Grove (keys), Lee Beverly (bass), and Tommy Girvin (guitar).
Instead, the NYPD trainee-turned rocker was accompanied by a six-piece ensemble fronted by his offspring.
Singer / songwriter Dez Money & The Faze did a competent job banging out all of Papa Eddie’s old radio smashes. Indeed, casual fans were probably unawares anything was out of the ordinary in Money Land.
But after a thirty-minute opening slot during which Dez and older sis Jesse cranked out a batch of R&B-seasoned selections, the kids returned for Money’s main course—which comprised of tunes mostly written and recorded before they were even born.
The band displayed musical chops (and stage presence) beyond their years on the wistful “Baby Hold On” and soul-charged “Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star” (both from Money’s 1977 debut). With Dez and cohort Robert Dartnell on guitar, the black-clad Eddie was free to shake a tambourine, wail on saxophone (“We Should Be Sleeping”), thwack a cowbell (“Walk On Water”), and huff on harmonica (“No Control”).
Naturally, Money injected his between-song banter with his signature humor (some of it self-deprecating):
“I got off the plane the other day and hugged my wife,” he reported. “She said, ‘Wow! You sure are glad to see me!’”
“I said, ‘Honey, that’s a cell phone in my pocket!’”
Blonde beauty Jesse’s joined her father on prior tours, so plying tunes like “Trinidad” (from 1980’s Playing for Keeps) with her Janis Joplin-like background vocals wasn’t anything new for her. She even got a solo spotlight on a cover of Sly & The Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” belting the 1969 soul anthem while her ol’ man took a breather.
The group also ran through the Smokey Robinson-penned “You Really Got a Hold On Me.” Eddie explained that he and his family visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum earlier that afternoon. Peeking inside one of the vaults, they examined a jacket worn by Buddy Holly—and a collarless grey suit worn by Ringo Starr.
The Liverpool lads included their take on the Miracles’ classic on their second UK album (With the Beatles) in 1963.
Money knows he isn’t on Jan Wenner’s short list for future Rock Hall nods; he said he burned too many bridges during his drinking days.
“I’ve got to mend some fences,” he acknowledged.
But Eddie selflessly suggested other acts for Wenner and his star chamber to consider: Peter Frampton, REO Speedwagon, Styx, 38 Special, and Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. He described his pals in Blue Oyster Cult as “little guys”—then broke into a verse from the munchkin-populated Wizard of Oz (“Lollipop Guild”).
Keyboardist Antonio Vidarte played a Hammond XK-3 and a Yamaha Motif XF-7, smoothing the guitar sounds and buttressing the vocals on “I Wanna Go Back” and The Ronettes-inspired #1 smash “Take Me Home Tonight” (both from the multi-platinum 1986 album Can’t Hold Back).
Paul Jones doled out the grooves on a Sadowsky five-string bass, matching his meters to 18-year old Julian Money’s sharp beats.
Eddie knows his Cleveland history—and geography, too. He recalled being stranded here during the 1978 Blizzard, performing at the legendary Agora, hanging with friends at 100.7 WMMS, and partying at Swingo’s. He also gave shout-outs to Akron and Shaker Heights.
Dez alternated between Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars. When he went “unplugged”—as he did for most of The Faze’s opening set—he relied on a Taylor acoustic. Southpaw six-stringer Dartnell favored a crème-colored Strat.
Ditching his sport coat, Eddie dazzled on No Control (1982) entry “Think I’m in Love” and throwback hit “Two Tickets to Paradise.” After giving a salute to America’s troops overseas, Money obliged fans with smoldering MTV staple “Shakin’.”
Dez and his siblings (Jesse and Julian) delighted with originals from their forthcoming first album. “I Ain’t No Good,” “Take Me Down,” and “Out of Control” were particularly effective, combining the best elements of jangle-pop with old-school soul. Jesse knocked Etta James blues standard “I’d Rather Go Blind” out of the park, then helped the boys wrap up with a fitting “Let’s Get Out of Here.”