Like those thundering hoof beats of yesteryear, the keyboard mastery of Michael Troy and the percussive madness of David Stefanelli rode the music headlong into the evening. Playing the Sunday night slot at Whippersnappers in Londonderry New Hampshire, The Beloved Few showed the crowd that had followed them in the past that they’ve still got it.
Recovering from a recent gastrointestinal illness, Troy had his old control over the keyboards down to a science. He pulled out ballads from Billy Joel and pop rock favorites from Elton John with equal ease.
The Beloved Few opened up with a tender version of The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood,” with Troy’s melodic keys and Stefanelli’s tasteful bongo playing. The duo gave this song plenty of emotional impact with their dynamic range and sweet vocal work.
The duo soon went into Cat Steven’s “Wild World.” Troy nailed the lonely melancholy with his subtle keyboard tinkling with solid backing from Stefanelli’s aggressive strumming on acoustic guitar, filling in all the other instruments this song was originally recorded with. The duo showed perfect harmonies and the energy between then was as fresh and lively as a new young band. It is Stefanelli’s multi-instrumental ability on bongos and acoustic guitar that gave this duo a lot of the texture in this live show.
The Beloved Few performed their original “Home” and Stefanelli’s solid acoustic work made the perfect backdrop for Troy to tap out more of his sprightly melodies. One highlight was their interpretation of Billy Joel’s “Rosalinda’s Eyes.” Stefanelli’s percussion was perfect and Troy’s strong, wide-ranging voice kept the tune in an appropriate Billy Joel style without being imitative of it.
“Tin Man” from America showed that Troy could still hold notes with the same gentle control he has always had. “Gray Seal” by Elton John gave the boys a chance to display how well they could build an arc to a song and this segued into some furious bongo playing from Stefanelli. Their arrangement of Bad Company’s “Silver, Blue, and Gold” turned the rocker into a piece of pristine beauty with the keyboard melodies and sweet, soulful vocal harmonies.
It is safe to say that Michael Troy has a clean bill of health as his voice sounded strong and his keyboard work was always on the money. Stefanelli is still one of the best drummers in New England and probably beyond. Let’s hope The Beloved Few will continue to bring their magic to all of the old familiar places.