While package tours are usually a big time summer draw, Ambrosia is beating everyone to the punch with an (almost) spring collaboration with other hit makers, Al Stewart and Peter Beckett (from the band, Player), and performed at Cary Hall in Lexington, Massachusetts on March 14, 2019.
Stewart began the night with a short acoustic set, and was joined early on by multi-instrumentalist, Marc Macisso. By the time Stewart got to his 1978 smash, "Time Passages," Ambrosia had made its way to the stage and backed Stewart on "Time Passages," and his signature tune, "Year of the Cat." During both songs, Macisso tore off saxophone solos (even making his way through the middle isle to the back of the Hall, during "Year of the Cat," seriously igniting the audiences enthusiasm).
Formed in 1970, Ambrosia still has three original members in the band; Joe Puerta (bass/vocals), Burleigh Drummond (drums/vocals), and Christopher North (keyboards/vocals). They are augmented by the talented trio of Doug Jackson (guitar), Ken Stacy (vocals), and Mary Harris (keyboard vocals).
Beginning with "Nice, Nice, Very Nice," a cool rocker from their 1975 self-titled debut album (the songs lyrics are from Kurt Vonnegut's poem, "Cats Cradle"), they then revisited their hit "You’re the Only Woman (You and I)," Ambrosias most recent Top 20 smash (or as Puerta put it, one of the bands "love songs," referring to the groups trilogy of romantic hits between 1978 through 1980).
An atmospheric "Somewhere I've Never Traveled," led straight into "Heart to Heart," a to-the-point tale of rejection. After telling a story concerning a benefit show when Ambrosia was supposed to play with Stevie Wonder (for which Ambrosia even learned one of his songs - unfortunately, Wonder was a no-show at the benefit), they showcased "World Leave Me Alone," and went straight into a killer cover of Wonders "Higher Ground" (during which Puertas bass work shined), and ended the first set with the soulful "How Much I Feel" (which landed the band a Top 3 hit in 1978).
The second half of the show was highlighted with "Rock and a Hard Place" and an epic take of "The Brunt" (where Drummond delivered a tasteful and complex drum solo).
Beckett came on stage to join the band for 4 songs, "This Time I'm In It For Love," a power-pop treat that was Players Top 10 follow up single after the wildly successful "Baby Come Back." He followed up with covers of Aces "How Long" and the Little River Bands, "The Night Owls" (Beckett was a member of the Little River Band for 8 years, starting in 1989), before Beckett played the irresistible lick (on his cool Orange Gibson guitar) and led the band through the iconic "Baby Come Back."
A nod to former Ambrosia member, Bruce Hornsby (and The Range) was done in the form of a cover of his "The Way It Is" (Puerta was an original member of The Range when Ambrosia was on hold for a few years).
Not forgetting their contribution to the 1976 musical documentary film "All This and World War II" (a film which included all cover versions of Beatles songs, interspersed with old news and actual footage of World War II), the band did a faithful rendition of "Magical Mystery Tour."
Ambrosia completed the set with a radiant R&B filled "Biggest Part of Me," during which Stacys voice reached extravagant levels.
The encore saw Beckett return to the stage and the combination ripped through "I'm Crying" (a cover of The Animals classic), and a blistering version of Led Zeppelins "Rock And Roll," closing out a night that bravely mixed musical genres and was wildly successful.