Garland Jeffreys' concert brings rock 'n' roll back to the Paradise City

Garland Jeffreys live (credit: Beau Bensch)

Mere minutes into his first encore Saturday night famed singer and songwriter Garland Jeffreys turned the clock at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Mass. backwards to the 1960s.

By segueing briefly from his impassioned rendition of the ? and the Mysterians hit “96 Tears,” Jeffreys resurrected yet another classic from a bygone era by seamlessly leading his band through the opening lines of the seminal Velvet Underground track “I’m Waiting for the Man.”

As an old friend and occasional collaborator of Velvet’s founding member Lou Reed, Jeffreys was reliving more than his own past on stage. Instead, he as well as the enthusiastic crowd singing along were suddenly transported to another time and another place. No longer was everyone just witnessing a 60+ year old man belt out a selection of classic tunes in front of an audience. In front of them was a living link, a timeless performer simultaneously bridging the gap between rock ‘n’ roll’s riotous history and uncertain future.

“I’m not going to tell you that I’m 68,” Jeffreys said. “Because I’m not. I don’t turn 68 until the end of the month. So don’t give me any excuses about not getting up in the morning.”

Stepping up to play shortly before their scheduled 7 p.m. start time, Jeffreys and his four-piece band quickly proved they were not only awake but ready to make good on their previous promise to “rock the IRON HORSE”.

Beginning with three straight songs off the new record The King of In Between, including the hard-charging opener “I’m Alive,” Jeffreys and company tore through a steady hour’s worth of material that ably mixed a variety of older numbers in alongside some new originals. “Wild in the Streets,” “Modern Lovers,” “Hail Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll” – each favorite had its moment in the spotlight. In fact, the only letdown in momentum that occurred was due to a handful of microphone issues, which though meddlesome did little to spoil the good-natured tone of the concert.

During one such incident, Jeffreys even made one of his many trips to stand on the table closest to the stage and began reciting an improvised story that lasted only a few seconds before sound issues were resolved.

Watch video of Garland Jeffreys tackling two ‘60s favorites here:

Finally, after shouting out the last few notes of his second encore “R.O.C.K” the man who once performed in blackface and penned the racially-tinged “Don’t Call Me Buckwheat” called it a night amidst raucous cheers and joyous applause.

“I haven’t left yet,” Jeffreys even replied jokingly to a smattering of crowd shouts urging him to return to the Paradise City soon. “I haven’t left, but I can already promise you I’ll be back.”

Here’s hoping such a trip doesn’t take another 67 years.

For more information on Garland Jeffreys or to see future tour dates please visit

Also, don’t forget to follow the Northeast Underground on Twitter @NE_Underground and check out more concert footage of Garland Jeffreys and other artists on the Underground’s official YouTube page.

Author: Michael Cimaomo

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