Righteous Brothers have time of their lives at TJ’s Corral

Tahoe Onstage

The Righteous Brothers, Bucky Heard and Bill Medley, thrill the audience at the Carson Valley Inn on May 25, 2018, to open the summer concert series on a crisp night in Minden, Nevada.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Pheonix Gruneich

“This is going to be bitchin’ ” Righteous Brothers’ founding member Bill Medley told those assembled Friday night at TJ’s Corral, “I’m going to bring that word back.”

A chilly evening at Carson Valley Inn prompted folks to break out long pants and sweaters. Some even brought blankets for the first installment of the outdoor Summer Concert Series. An older crowd proved how long some fans have been along for the journey, and Medley, 77, acknowledged those who have been there all 55 years of his career.

Pheonix Gruneich / Tahoe Onstage“Thank you very much, welcome to the show. Please relax and have a good time. If you want, clap your hands, stomp your feet. Just run around a little bit. Punch somebody out if you want,” the affable singer said.

Medley and his original partner, Bobby Hatfield, began performing together in 1962 in Los Angeles as part of a five-member group called the Paramours, but became The Righteous Brothers when they embarked on a remarkable career as a duo. Their most active recording period was in the 1960s and ’70s. Although the duo was inactive for some years, Medley and Hatfield reunited in 1981 and continued to perform until Hatfield’s death in 2003 — the same year The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2016, Medley brought back The Righteous Brothers with Bucky Heard, a good friend for more than a dozen years, and they continue to perform as a duo. Several songs Friday night were dedicated to Hatfield.

The band was eager start the show and to warm up the crowd and themselves. It had been raining for two days and the skies cleared just in time for the evening’s performance. The band opened with “Hold On, I’m Coming” (originally by Sam and Dave).

For many, the concert provided a soundtrack of their lives. “Unchained Melody,” “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ ” and “Time Of My Life” from the “Dirty Dancing” movie were among the highlights. There also were notable covers of songs that included Carole King’s “Just Once in My Life,” Ray Orbison’s “Crying” and even Luciano Pavarotti’s “Nessun Dorma,” which Heard sang in Italian (much to the delight of the crowd).

Backup singer McKenna Medley, Bill Medley’s daughter, delivered a pleasing rendition of the Everly Brothers’ “Bye Bye Love.”

Toward the end of the show, Medley pitched his new book: “I wrote a book called the ‘Time Of My Life’ and it’s for sale out front. But it reads better if you steal it.” He was quite the jokester and his adoring fans ate it up like they were listening to a favorite uncle at Thanksgiving.

It truly was a bitchin’ night, and a righteous way to kick off summer in the Carson Valley.

– Pheonix Gruneich

Related story: Interview with Bill Medley.

  • The Righteous Brothers
    TJ’s Corral at the Carson Valley Inn, May 25, 2018
    Set list
    Hold On, I’m Coming
    Just Once in My Life
    Little Latin Lupe Lu
    My Soul and Inspiration
    Rock and Roll Heaven
    Crying (Heard solo)
    Gospel song (a capella, name not known)
    Brown Eyed Woman
    Unchained Melody (Medley solo)
    Time Of My Life-Bill Medley duet with daughter McKenna
    Bye Bye Love (McKenna Medley solo)
    This Will Be The Last Time (Medley solo)
    Nessun Dorma, in Italian (Heard solo)
    You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

    Tahoe Onstage

    The Righteous Brothers warm the evening with their classic songs.

    Tahoe Onstage

    Saxophonist Mark Tragesser kicks his heel in TJ’s Corral.

    Tahoe Onstage

    Tahoe Onstage

    McKenna Medley and her father Bill have the time of their lives.

About Pheonix Gruneich

Photojournalist Pheonix Gruneich is a native of Southern California where her love of music began. She moved to Tahoe when she was 16. She now resides in the Carson Valley. She is a lover of arts and, most of all, live music!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *