The Tavern was packed downstairs and the upstairs was opened for the overflow audience to watch on closed circuit TV. The second-floor monitor even swayed at times when the raucous crowd made deafening yells to show appreciation of the magnificent talent abounding on the stage.
Branch, just back from a gig at Penn State, then took over hosting duties and brought up some of his Tuesday night compatriots, including Danny Sanches on guitar, Steve Locke on bass and Paul Piper on the kit. They quickly won over the crowd with some oldies and Allman Brothers as the solos from Jerry Don and Quinten Hope, one of many also coming from other gigs, had everyone bobbing their heads and playing air guitar. Lewis Fluellen joined them on keys as they made the building shake during "Riding With The King" and "Midnight Rider."
The best dressed man in R&B;, Superstar Harold Walker, got the dancers on the floor with two songs that that showed why he is such a popular entertainer in the area. Everyone loved hearing Superstar and he took that energy and gave it right back to the audience. Mike Morgan and Hash Brown then picked and played the guitar and harmonica, respectively, to an appreciative audience. They finished with "Ding Dong Daddy," a funky blues song that turned the toe-tappers into foot-stompers and caused dancers to gyrate in ways that would make them sore the next day.
Harkins then honored the original pair of musicians who started the Thursday night jam, Jackie Don Loe and Dave Taylor. Fan favorite CT David joined them on bass and they entertained the crowd with a set of blues that culminated with an amazing original arrangement by Jackie Don on the soulful "Life By The Drop." Look for this to be recorded soon.
It was a long night, but fans stayed until the end to celebrate a night of tremendous music, fellowship and fun. Harkins has also assembled a terrific staff to make The Tavern a destination place for live music. Susan is in charge of the kitchen that serves great food. Andrea heads a bar staff that keeps customers coming back. The lovely Whitney serves with a smile and a cheerful word. And Chris Harkins is the sound engineer who makes all these professionals sound even better. Do yourself a favor and go to The Tavern on Tuesdays and Thursdays for live music, as well as the rest of the week to feel at home.