15 August 1998
Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO
So, who's Richie Furay? Believe it or not, he was the founding member of three successful rock groups: Buffalo Springfield, POCO, and the Souther, Hillman, Furay Band. Strangely, bandmates from all three of the above enjoyed significant success, in each case, after he had left each of the above respective bands (Stephen Stills and Neil Young from Buffalo Springfield, POCO with "Crazy Love" and "Heart Of The Night", J.D. Souther's solo career, and Chris Hillman with the Desert Rose Band). But, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Furay's success has been rare, at best, as a musician. Perhaps his greatest success has been with his family and his church, the Calvary Chapel, in Boulder, CO, at which he has been a pastor for the last 15 years, just a few blocks away from this evening's venue.
When my friend Marc and I arrived, we could clearly tell that most of the audience was moreso followers of his religious music, than his rock and roll archives. Last year, Richie released a Contemporary Christian CD on the Calvary Chapel Label.
But, Richie started off with his most successful song, the Pop #27 single he wrote for the Souther, Hillman, Furay Band, "Fallin' In Love". Thereafter, he proceeded to provide a decent anthology of his career, beginning with his version of Neil Young's "On The Way Home", perhaps hinting that, nowadays, "Home" means something significantly different from before.
In between songs, Richie talked about the ups and downs of his life and career, such as twice being separated from his wife of 30 years, Nancy, but staying together through the rough times--I'm happy to say that they are still together as I write this. The Yellow Springs, Ohio native performed for her what many call the first "Country Rock" song, "Kind Woman".
Accompanied by a six-piece band, including friend Scott Sellen, Richie gave the audience the Stephen Stills composition, "Go And Say Goodbye", another Neil Young tune, "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing", and "A Child's Claim To Fame", from the Springfield era.
Next came some POCO material, including the 1971 hit single, "C'Mon".
Then, Richie stood in front of the full Fox Theatre audience and said, "Okay, now it's time to go to church," and performed several tracks from his 1997 In My Father's House, including the title track, the very spiritual "Hallel", and "Peace That Passes All Understanding". Though the CD doesn't overwhelm you with deep melody or excruciatingly profound lyrics, it does offer a cohesive, consistent expression of who he is and where he's at.
Nicely, he encored with perhaps his best song, "A Good Feeling To Know (Somebody Loves You)". To Richie, "Somebody" is the Lord.
His voice is still as strong and likeable as ever. He seems stronger than ever.
[****] - Steven T.
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