Pablo Cruise performing the first night of their east coast tour at Bethesda Blues & Jazz in Bethesda, M.D. on June 3, 2014
BETHESDA, M.D. – Pablo Cruise haven’t been to the east coast in a really, really long time.
So long in fact, the legendary California band doesn’t even remember the last time they played the other coast.
“Do you remember Pablo Cruise?” asked the video which served as their walk-on footage at Bethesda Blues and Jazz. It showed their early career introduction on the Merv Griffin show. Merv was a big fan, the video reminded us. And so was Will Ferrell’s developmentally arrested character in Step Brothers, wearing a shirt that made the band’s iconic sun and palm tree logo something of a cult phenomenon.
But for all the fun nostalgia in the video, the real reason we remember this smoothest of ’70s bands came as soon as the flick ended and the band ripped into “Worlds Away”, a song packed with more hooks than it knows what to do with.
It is opening night of this rarest of east coast tours, and original members Cory Lerios, David Jenkins, Steve Price, and newer addition Larry Antonino could not be happier to be on stage.
After Lerios’ rocks the keys during his solo for the opening song, he wastes no time getting right to their monster hit.
As soon as he taps those chords, the audience knows.
“A Place in the Sun”, it is.
By this time, the renovated venue in downtown Bethesda truly feels as if it’s been transported to the California oceanside.
Jenkins, Lerios and Price proceed to lead the band though a dizzying amount of extended jams and silky harmonies which expertly blend with the chosen mixture of compositions from their seven studio albums.
These are serious, studio-quality grooves, but Jenkins and Lerios can’t resist mixing in some humor.
“We’re going to go take a break now,” announces Jenkins after the fourth song. “But you all can keep drinking while we’re resting.”
Of course, they did anything but.
As the show went on, each song and each solo became increasingly danceable, and at a certain point the dance floor in front of the stage filled up almost instantly.
An absolutely sizzling version of “Whatcha Gonna Do” seemed like the finale after a show closing in on two hours, but the band had one more song to play.
Sure, the east coast hasn’t seen Pablo Cruise since their heyday. But fortunately for the fans, the band hasn’t changed a bit.
For more on Pablo Cruise, visit www.pablocruise.com.