Review: Big Girls Don't Cry, The Riverfront, Newport
The music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons shook the foundations of Newport Riverfront on Friday evening as The East Coast Boys presented their show Big Girls Don't Cry to a strong audience turn out.
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons music output was prominent throughout the 60s and 70s and in recent years their music has had a resurgence through the musical, Jersey Boys. The success of Jersey Boys has seen several tribute shows do the touring circuit in recent years and The East Coast Boys are currently on their tenth anniversary.
Funny, energetic and pitch perfect, Lee Matthews as Frankie Valli, David Hinton Gale as Bob Gaudio, Bradley Clarkson as Nick Massi and Ellott Sturt as Tommy Devito attired in blue jackets, red ties and black trousers and backed by a magnificent four piece band comprising two guitars, keyboards and drums launched into The Four Seasons Greatest Hits.
The raw energy of original 45s such as Big Girls Don't Cry, Lets Hang On, Sherry, Opus 17 (Don't You Worry 'Bout Me) and Rag Doll came to life on the stage through energetic and tightly choreographed performances.
The East Coast Boys while taking on personas of The Four Seasons personalised the show somewhat with comparisons of New Jersey to Newport and even a cheeky reference to Cwmbran. Audience participation was also high on the agenda with the boys performing a good humoured rendition of the song Marlena to a girl called Rebecca, while also encouraging everyone to sing, hum and get out of their seats at varying points.
The sum of a good band is to see them enjoying themselves on stage and I certainly got that feeling with these performers. A Capella rendition of Blue Moon, a nod to The Shirelles rendition of Carole King's Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and a cheeky acknowledgement of British Invasion bands The Beatles and The Tremeloes before launching into Silence Is Golden were all great moments.
The second half of the show included a few 70s numbers including the exceptional The Night and Grease (is the word) saw the boys swap their smart jackets for leathers while The Four Seasons re imagining of I've Got You Under My Skin which was inspired after seeing Sinatra perform it in Las Vegas were all high points.
The audience were well and truly out of their seats for the encore which included Stay (A Little Longer) - a song that was designed for an encore if any - a medley of classic hits and finally Oh What a Night (December 63). Well it was May 18 and the Riverfront audience still felt it was quite a night and a memorable one at that!