There was a superstar sidekick in town last night. E Street band legend – and Bruce Springsteen’s longest-serving musician – Garry W. Tallent played The Cavern Club as part of a tour to promote his new solo record. And he got the mood just right. By Alan O’Hare.¬†

One of them made it, then.

A while ago, we asked why Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have never played in Liverpool… last night, at The Cavern Club on Mathew Street, his longest-serving sideman stepped onstage on Scouse soil and put that right. Ish.

Garry Tallent was in town to promote his first ever solo record, ‘Break Time’. The legendary E Street bassist has carved out a nice sideline as a producer of all things Americana over the years, but has finally decided now is the right time to step away from the recording console and in front of the mic. It’s a wise move as Tallent, 67, looked like he was having the time of his life.

Fronting a seven-piece band that included Liverpool musician Etienne Girard on double bass, Tallent genre-hopped into rockabilly, blues, country and soul for a set that brought a little bit of Nashville and the chitlin’ circuit to Liverpool. We had Cajun fiddle solos, bluegrass banjo, Duane Eddy guitar licks and a whole lot more as Tallent played through his solo record and choice cuts from the albums and sessions that he’s been involved with throughout his career.

There was a Springsteen cover (‘From Small Things… ‘), a Clarence Clemons outtake, a version of Southside Johnny’s ‘Tell ’em I’m Broke’ and a great race through ‘Twenty Flight Rock’, following Tallent’s afternoon spent on the Magical Mystery Tour bus hearing tales of how John met Paul. The playing was righteous, in particular that of lead guitarist¬†Eddie Angel, and the band were cookin’… sure, the songs kind of blended into one during the latter part of the two hour set, but Tallent’s infectious enthusiasm and his band’s in-the-pocket precision ensured energy levels never dipped.

It’s often a strange affair when a longtime sideman steps out of the shadow of a superstar and goes it alone, but Tallent took the temperature of this one just right: give them a few hits, play your new tunes and offer a nod to the (B)boss. Job done.

Pic courtesy Val Colvin