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Cryan Shames with Special Guest Dennis Tufano
Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center, Bolingbrook, Ill.
August 31, 2008

Too bad this show was one night only! Two Chicago legends were onstage having a ball.

The Cryan Shames began the main part of the show, singing their wondrous harmonies, and playing as only a band that's been together for decades can play.

Jim Pilster, the heart and soul of the group, moved about the stage with the energy of a man half his age. He kicked his standing cymbal, beat on his tambourine and bongo drums, and added vocals that uplifted and rejoiced.

Original lead singer Tom Doody returned to the group for the night, having a lot of fun, and waded into the audience to bring the Cryan Shames' sound directly to the fans. His soulful rendition of "Up on the Roof" was a particular delight, and a highlight of the show.

Jeff Rutter on electric guitar gave rise to blistering solos, even with a young child from the audience (his grandchild perhaps?) occasionally sitting atop his shoulders.

Paul Wood played both keyboards and guitars and moved easily from one to the other. He dueled on guitar with Jeff Rutter, and played some keyboards that dazzled in their intricacy.

Gregg Brucker remained quietly in the background for most of the night with his bass, coming forward to add his sweet voice to the exquisite harmonies, and also singing lead for one song. Would have loved to have heard more.

Drummer Bruce "Rocky" Penn endured the brunt of the evening's technical difficulties when his microphone went dead just as he was about to sing lead on a song. He kept a steady beat in spite of the problems, and was able to sing lead once the problems were fixed.

The Shames sang many of their hits, including "It Could Be We're In Love," "First Train to California," the Beatles' "You're Gonna Lose that Girl," "Sugar & Spice," "We Could Be Happy," and as Tom Doody said, "our most requested song: I Wanna Meet You!"

Special guest star Dennis Tufano joined the Shames for a Beatles tune ("If I Needed Someone") before launching into his part of the show. He was in great voice, and was also having fun, joking with the audience and band members. He sang great songs, songs that had influenced him in his formative years, and songs that continue to inspire. Among them were the Rascals' "How Can I Be Sure?", four songs from the music of Bobby Darin ("Beyond the Sea," "My Funny Valentine," "Mack the Knife," and "If I Were a Carpenter"), as well as the wonderful and familiar Buckingham songs that made Tufano famous ("Don't You Care?" "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," "Susan," and "Kind of a Drag").

Both legends, the Cryan Shames and Dennis Tufano, finished the show with great songs, including a rousing version of Paul Simon's "Late in the Evening," which inspired a conga line that Tom Doody and Dennis Tufano snaked through the audience and back onstage, conga dancers in tow.

The music was amazing, the band was very tight, and even despite a few technical difficulties, a great time was had by all! The organizers even teased the audience that both groups might be asked to play at a Bolingbrook anniversary concert next August. Stay tuned!

See photos from this concert.

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