When you have an hour's worth of greatest hits to your credit, all you have to do is perform them. And that's pretty much what Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Everly Brothers did Wednesday at the Universal Amphitheatre.
Backed by a crack five-piece band of English-American session heavies, including guitarist Albert Lee and drummer Larrie Londin, the tuxedo-clad brothers opened with a steel-driving version of their '65 cult rocker "The Price of Love" and followed it with nothing less--and little more--than near-perfect re-creations of their biggest of all-time big ones: "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up Little Susie," "Let It Be Me," et. al.
So far, so fine. Except that Don and Phil have recorded two exceptional Dave Edmunds-produced albums of contemporary material since their decade-awaited reunion three years back. So what do they do? One measly song from those sessions: Mark Knopfler's "Why Worry?" originally found on the latest Dire Straits album and reportedly written with the Everlys in mind. Sounded like it. Sounded great, as a matter of fact, and along with the concert-closing, unrecorded rendition of Buddy Holly's "Maybe Baby," proved that these guys can turn anything into an Everly Brothers song.
Considering that the brothers' trademark country-tinged harmonies still bob and weave like shadow-boxing cats, a strictly acoustic duet segment might've been a good idea as well. Granted, the crowd (filling about two-thirds of the 6,000-seat hall on the first of the two scheduled nights) was there to hear the hits, but dedicated fans would've stood for anything Don and Phil wanted to sing, whether country standards, obscure album tracks, Beatles or Dylan tunes. As it stands, the Everlys are selling themselves and their fans awfully short. Nanci Griffith opened the show.