Live Review: Timothy B. Schmit – Tuesday 30th March 2010 – Cadogan Hall, London, UK
For the 6 weeks leading up to Tuesdays gig at Cadogan Hall in Sloane Square I had a lot of people pose the same question to me when I told them who I was going to see – “who is Timothy B. Schmit?”. Even when telling people who he was, my answer was often rounded off with “the long-haired bass player in the band”.
Sacramento born Timothy B. Schmit first started his career in 1969 as bass player in a small band named Poco before joining Californian based classic rock super group The Eagles in 1977. Timothy cemented himself in the band with notable hits I Can’t Tell You Why and the Grammy nominated Love Will Keep Us Alive whilst always maintaining a fairly successful but more low profiled solo recording career. With an angelic voice and charismatic stature I have always found it a shame that Timothy has been the least known of all the Eagles band members. Lurking in the shadows with the occasional spotlight glance. Growing up I was in total admiration and awe of Timothy’s musicianship and ‘cool’ stage presence and was very excited to see that he was to come to the UK as a solo artist for the first time to promote his first solo offering in 8 years, Expando.
The night was very structured. Posters doted around the venue illustrating an organised evening of entertainment. Nell Bryden, an attractive country blues singer originating from New York but with a Mississippi blues inspired kick was support for Timothy on all of his UK dates and lit the match on the night at 8pm. With the backing of only her guitar and quite a powerful set of lungs she went through her set of well penned country infused numbers.
After a break of 30 minutes the lights dimmed and Timothy approached the mic casually dressed in a pair of jeans and red flannel shirt. The venue wasn’t packed – there were quite a few empty seats despite seeming close to sold out 4 weeks earlier. Strapped up to an acoustic guitar – a side step from his famous ‘bass man’ image – he started the set with falsetto crooner The Shadow. A slightly less commercial pic for an opener but nonetheless a delicate and moving choice.
There were obviously a lot of Eagles fans in the audience waiting for a glimpse of the suave bass player and hoping to hear their favourite played somewhere in the set. The odd hollering came from around the hall requesting various numbers – mostly Eagles hits.
Over the duration of the set all but one of the tracks from his latest album were performed. Friday Night, Downtime and album opener One More Mile were upbeat and funky. He was joined by a gospel trio who provided smooth backing vocals on various numbers, most notably on White Boy From Sacramento, the standout newbie of the night from the album. The upbeat numbers were balanced by a good choice of ballads – A Good Day was gorgeous and Ella Jean came accompanied with a moving anecdote of how the song was written for his absent wife while recoding the album. Though he did make a point that she was absent due to working in Hawaii which provided the audience with a bit of an unsympathetic laugh.
He revisited his roots with a couple of Poco numbers – Keep On Trying and What Am I Gonna Do were met with applause from the balcony – obvious Poco followers. But no Timothy B Schmit concert would be complete without his Eagles notables. The highlight for many including myself had to be the song that made this guy known the world over – I Cant Tell You Why. As soon as he grabbed his bass and played those first bass lines the night seemed perfect. The crowd went into a slight frenzy when Paul Carrack appeared on stage as a special guest for a duet of I Don’t Wanna Hear Anymore before the closing number Love Will Keep Us Alive was acoustically performed to a standing ovation.
Throughout the night we got to see a side of Timothy that is very rare. The long haired mute would almost be a fitting title for those who have seen him at an Eagles gig, stood to one side with his bass but every so often gliding in to play his few leads in the limelight before again taking a back position. It was great to see the talkative and at times very humorous side to someone the world seems to know so little about.
He was very attentive and gave a lot of recognition to his fellow musicians who have worked with him for a number of years and who shared the stage for this tour, giving brief biographies of each member.
The intimate setting of a hall was a spectacular change for a man from a band capable of selling out large arenas and stadiums worldwide and as Timothy so humorously put it ‘who needs the 02?’ drawing attention to that very fact. The audience throughout the night was a lot less rowdy than a Eagles concert audience – at times showing less energy than a 10 week old flat can of coke. Everyone seemed more content to sit and bask in the event than anything else for most parts of the concert.
For a man of 62 Timothy B Schmit is a legend and icon in the music industry and to fans the world over – the king of cool – the Bass Man. With the voice of a man 30 years his junior he shows no signs of slowing down.
One More Mile
I Cant Tell You Why (Eagles)
White Boy From Sacremento
Keep On Trying (Poco)
What Am I Gonna Do (Poco)
I Don’t Mind
A Good Day
Cant Find My Way Home
I Don’t Wanna Hear Anymore (with Paul Carrack)
Love Will Keep Us Alive