July 24, 2019
Schermerhorn Symphony Center – Nashville, TN
Baby Boomers grew hearing songs such as “Mountain of Love”, “Secret Agent Man”, “Poor Side of Town”, “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”, “Summer Rain”, and “Swayin’ to the Music’”. The voice behind those memorable hits is the legendary Johnny Rivers.
A quite young and energetic soon-to-be seventy-seven years old, Johnny announced earlier this year that he was launching his farewell tour. Fortunately for Nashvillians, one of the stops for that tour was at their gorgeous Schermerhorn Symphony Center. I caught Johnny’s show at that amazing venue (my first time there). My goodness! What a beautiful and acoustically perfect (to my ears, at least) place to stage performances! It was the perfect setting for Rivers to tell Nashville good-bye.
With no opening act, Johnny hit the stage at precisely 7:30pm (I love it when shows start on time) with “Midnight Special”, the icon had the capacity crowd eating of his talented hands, giving them most of his hits. In addition to the aforementioned hits, Rivers served up songs that he wrote or covered over the years. Tunes such as “Chicago Bound”, “Down at the House of Blues”, “The Seventh Son”, “The Snake”, Smoky Robinson’s “The Track of My Tears”, and “Mountain of Love/Lawdy Miss Clawdy”.
What I especially loved was Rivers’ acoustic treatment of “The One You Love” (written by the late Glenn Frey and Boomerocity friend, Jack Tempchin - who also wrote Rivers’ hit, “Swayin’ to the Music”) and the Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell classic, “Wichita Lineman”.
With those and many more tunes (including a four-song encore), Johnny Rivers left very appreciative crowd remembering the past that those songs are attached to and left us all wanting more.
Nashville – and the world – wishes Johnny Rivers all the best in his retirement.
Thank you, Johnny, for all the great songs and all the great memories tied to them.