In the 2304th performance of the Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival, the Righteous Brothers took the audience on a journey through time, with music from the 1950s to the music of the 2010s.
As the band opened with “Let the Good Times Roll” a song from 2013, the exuberance Bill Medley and Bucky Heard showed rolled off the stage and throughout the Bowl, encompassing the audience in their love of performing.
The show, a mix of young and old, and familiar, ran parallel to the audience, who also had a blend of young and old — young children sang alongside their great-grandparents and familiar and newbies and those who had attended many of the performances welcomed those who had never attended a show.
Medley’s music and rhythm belied his near 82 years as he became the performer who has entertained audiences for more than 50 years. After a bit of banter between Medley and Heard, they slid into a Carole King song, “Just Once in My Life,” one of Medley’s favorite to perform.
In between songs, Medley and Heard chatted, drawing the crowd in with humor. The familiarity of being onstage came through as the men matched each other joke for joke, pitch for pitch. A moment or two of back and forth, and the band sang “Little Latin Lupe,” a popular song from the 1960s.
“Cryin’,” a song made popular by Roy Orbison in the 1950s, had people crooning with the band, while the crowd kept rhythm with “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind.” “Unchained Melody,” a piece almost synonymous with the movie “Ghost,” was originally written the 1950s, but become popular in the 1990, when the soundtrack hit the airwaves.
As the band sang, video played in the background, a reminder of Bobby Hatfield, one of the original members of the group.
While Medley and Heard’s love of performing shined through, so did their appreciation for the band and the audience.
Band members include Tim Lee on keyboard, Jess Gopen on drums, Aja Wilson on bass, Russ Letizia on guitar, Andy Ray on trumpet, Mark Tragesser on saxophone, Diane Spann and McKenna Medley on vocals and Bill Famini as production manager.
“(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” represented the 1980s. Although the song had been written in the 1960s, the movie “Dirty Dancing” made it accessible to a whole new era.
Great grandmother JoAnn Okleberry, loved the show.
“It was fantastic!” she said. “I relived my youth with every song!”
A few more songs, a bit more joshing with the crowd and the evening was done. Almost. A Righteous Brothers concert wouldn’t be complete without “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, arguably the most famous song in the hit movie “Top Gun,” released in 1986.
There’s a reason the Righteous Brothers are one of the longest-touring groups out there, even with a slight hiatus. A few reasons, actually, from the crowd-pleasing songs to the easy camaraderie of the singers and band, to Heard’s amazing range and Medley’s deep baritone in perfect synch, to the hit numbers that draw generations together.
From the 1950s to the early 2010s, from children to great-grandparents, from familiar songs to the more obscure, the Righteous Brothers put on a show that truly made music for everyone.