Review: REEVE CARNEY SINGS THE BEATLES Is a Knockout at Green Room 42

A valentine to the iconic group (with adrenaline)

By: May. 22, 2024
Review: REEVE CARNEY SINGS THE BEATLES Is a Knockout at Green Room 42
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Performing a remarkable homage to The Beatles, with immense attention to details of the original recordings, powerhouse vocalist/instrumentalist Reeve Carney channels and cheers the landmark group.  He seems to be in that kind of heavenly zone of delight and devotion that can only be fully visited (or, rather, lived in) by the most dedicated and educated of longtime fans.  He has the musicianship, gusto, and confidence to go everywhere the lines of the songs go, as a one-man band with this valentine to the four-man band.   He gushes about the material and fondly/fiercely performs it, loyally staying in the beloved blueprints.  It’s a commanding tribute, warmhearted without ever becoming a lukewarm pale imitation.  Not by a long shot.  After several numbers that clearly demonstrate how much he’s absorbed from the work of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, the likable performer looks at the audience, smiles, and says, in a knowing understatement, “I’m obsessed with The Beatles.” He smiles and adds, “It’s a good vice to have.”  

Reeve Carney has star quality and dazzle galore.  But his stage affect is that of a down-to-earth, casual, grateful man who’s excited to be doing what he’s doing and to have an attentive audience he refers to as “you guys,” in an inclusive way.  He had so many favorite recordings he wanted to address that he did two completely different sets at The Green Room on May 13.  I caught the late set, but apparently many audience members there had also attended the earlier one.  They showed no sign of having too much of a good thing, as far as I could tell in looking around.  Perhaps he made a couple specific comments too many about the earlier program as it could make those who weren’t there for it feel left out or wish they’d double-dipped, too.  At least, that was my reaction.  

Reeve Carney played guitar and sang with fearless ferocity on the intense items like a no-holds-barred, full-out “Helter Skelter” (approaching a primal scream that raises the roof) and showed sensitivity on “Blackbird.” He moved to the piano to accompany himself on “All You Need Is Love,” inviting folks in the crowd to sing along “if you’ve had enough to drink.”  The sounds Mr. Carney made were layered and looped and echoed and cloned in mesmerizing ways with his use of OP-1 Field.  It’s an electronic device from Stockholm: serving as synthesizer, sampler, sequencer — and the Green Room 42’s technical director, Sheridan Glover, marvelously mixing the elements.  A less dynamic instrumentalist/singer would be upstaged by the special effects and bells and whistles, but that was not the case with the kinetic, charismatic Carney.   

He spoke fondly about his teen years as part of a school music program and the supportive instruction of a particular teacher.  The announcement that this instructor was in the audience brought welcoming applause and the man (“He asks me to call him Dan now”) was invited onto the stage for a public reunion, moving to the piano for a combined effort on an especially tender treatment of the ballad “In My Life.” Another special moment was a spectacular “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” shared with special guest Eva Noblezada.  The two are a couple offstage and had been through Hell together, so to speak, co-starring in the musical theater smash, Hadestown. 

Other song choices in the 9:30 pm set includes the soothing “Let It Be,” a hypnotic “Dear Prudence,” and the feisty “Get Back.” Reeve Carney announced that he will “get back” to some of his original songs and “get back” to The Green Room 42 with a different show, on June 23.  But I suspect that he’ll also “get back” to his Beatles bonanzas and they’ll become a tradition and fan favorite.

For more on this performer’s Beatles project, read a Q&A with Reeve Carney.

Follow Reeve Carney on Instagram.

Find more upcoming shows on Green Room 42's website.


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