I was not the only one in the house at Music Box Supper Club for what would be a bucket list “redo” concert featuring the legendary Peter Wolf. Many of the usual suspects missed his last solo performance a few years ago and were excited to see him pass through the Cleveland area once again. I was set to travel to Ann Arbor and catch him at The Ark on that tour, so suffice to say I was … as they say in the 216 … All In.
Yes, after seeing Wolf’s performance he is certainly a legend as one of rock ‘n roll’s best lead singers and front man who continues to push the envelope with outstanding new material. Although the tour centers around his new release A Cure For Loneliness on the Concord Music Group label, Wolf covers all the bases sampling from other albums like Midnight Souvenirs (my album of the year award in 2010), Sleepless, Fool’s Parade, Long Line, and Lights Out. The former disc jockey on Boston WBCN FM radio with the nickname "the Wolfa Goofa" was the lead vocalist for The J. Geils Band from 1967 to 1983 which reunites on occasion.
Tonight, Wolf was backed by The Midnight Travelers featuring Kevin Barry (guitar/pedal steel), Marty Ballou (electric & upright bass), Tom Arey (drums), and Duke Levine (guitar/mandolin). The charismatic Wolf came out to a cell phone camera free stage wearing a smokin’ black and while leopard sports jacket and launched into “Wastin Time”. For two hours, he dazzled the crowd with his emotional stage presence and wit prancing about from side to side spinning stories between songs. The set included “Always So Easy” dedicated to the honky tonk angels, “Growing Pain”, “Nothing But The Wheel”, and one of several he co-wrote with Will Jennings titled “Some Other Time, Some Other Place”. Wolf reminisced about his days playing in Cleveland before singing “Cry One More Time” then rocked out to “Can’t Get Started” followed by “Peace of Mind”. Then it was time for drinks as Wolf placed an order with superstar club waitress Heidi Rumpf working the tables close to the stage, finally just telling her to bring the whole bottle. From there the band played “The Usual Place”, “Lights Out”, “Waiting On The Moon”, “Rolling On”, and a medley of Bill Monroe’s “When My Moon Turns Gold Again” coupled with a bluegrass version of “Love Stinks” found on the new Lp. Wolf dedicated “Fun For A While” to his old friends in the Bronx where he grew up, then the crowd began standing as he rattled off “Tragedy”, the Otis Rush cover “Homework”, “I Don’t Want To Know”, “Give It to Me”, and “Looking For A Love”. For an encore, the band returned to play “I Need You Tonight”, a song dedicated to Merle Haggard that sums up Wolf’s life called “It’s Too Late For Me”, and the closing number “Must Of Got Lost”.
If this tour comes to your hometown, just go. You can thank me later.