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Howlin’ wind.

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Of all the shows I’ve seen, my favorite remains Neil Young and Crazy Horse at the old hockey rink in Buffalo, on the Arc/Weld tour of 1991.

Neil and the Horse played sloppily and louder than Christ, which is the only way they know. But underneath the energy was a strength and fire that had little to do with volume, and a wisdom built on 20-plus years of marvelous songwriting. Age met spirit, and the results were explosive.

Tonight’s show by Graham Parker and the Rumour at Bethlehem’s Musikfest Cafe wasn’t quite as earthshaking as Neil and the Horse were, all those years ago.

But it was very, very, very good, and another potent reminder of what can happen when experience, spirit and smarts come together on equal footing.

Which is a good thing … because when you’re Graham Parker and the Rumour, it ain’t just about hitting the right notes.

The albums the British singer-songwriter and his band recorded between 1976 and 1980 crackled with energy, emotion and soul — not “soul” in a literal-minded, let’s-make-this-sound-just-like-Otis-Redding way, but soul nonetheless.

(Not for nothing is their best-known album called Squeezing Out Sparks, nor one of their rallying-cry signature tunes called “Passion Is No Ordinary Word.”)

For a reunion tour to work, it would have to be about something besides the box office. It would have to embrace the power of the past, and summon it  in the present.

Parker and his five-man backing band ain’t getting rich off this tour: I guesstimate the Musikfest Cafe holds 500 people, and it wasn’t sold out.

But if this first show of the tour is any indication, they’re more than fulfilling the artistic part of the equation. The two-hour show abounded with energy, good humor, and a commitment to putting across a classic set list of songs with wit and emotion intact.

Parker and company played at least four songs from last year’s reunion album, Three Chords Good — one of them, the sardonic “Last Bookstore in Town” (complete with kazoo solo), for the first time onstage.

From the sound of it, the new songs hold their own with the classics. One, “A Lie Gets Halfway ‘Round the World,” featured Parker riffing on the local color: “Bethlehem, the Steel City … they replaced steel with plastic … and that sucks.”

Of course, it's sorta hard not to riff about steel when your stage is across the street from the former Bethlehem Steel plant.

Of course, it’s easy to riff about steel when a former Bethlehem Steel plant looms behind your stage.

The classics, meanwhile, are in good hands. “Discovering Japan” and “Howlin’ Wind” and “Local Girls” and “Watch The Moon Come Down” and “Lady Doctor” and “Soul Shoes” (which got a stomping honky-tonk take as the final encore) and, yes, “Passion Is No Ordinary Word” felt strong and biting, familiar without being rote.

“Howlin’ Wind,” in particular, had an ominous strut, just a tiny bit different from the record, that makes me wish they were still playing it and I were still listening to it. This short clip (which could stand a fade-in, fade-out, and other sweetening I don’t have time to give it) conveys a tiny, tiny bit of it:

Oh, yeah — late in the show, just when I’d forgotten how very much I wanted them to play “Stupefaction,” they played it, and it was brilliant, as scornful and fed-up as it was in 1980.

The 30 years between the original breakup of the Rumour and Three Chords Good got their due too, with the band rocking through a selection of tunes they didn’t originally play on, but did justice to anyway. (I now have a whole bunch of Graham Parker albums I know I need to catch up on.)

Parker and the Rumour will be on tour in the Northeast for the next three weeks or so, playing such humble venues as The Met in Pawtucket, R.I. (Did I mention they’re not getting rich?)

If you can catch ’em, do it. If you can’t, cross your fingers and hope that the band’s rediscovered rock n’ roll soul is enough to keep it together for a while longer.

Ain’t wastin’ time no more.

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My love affair with the Royal Southern Brotherhood lasted about 12 hours.

The RSB (I will call them that to save time, and also because their full name sounds uncomfortably Klannish) is a soul-jam band made up of Cyril Neville of the New Orleans Nevilles; Gregg Allman’s son Devon; and a couple of vets of the likes of the Derek Trucks Band.

They performed in the Lehigh Valley tonight — in fact, are probably still performing as I type this — as part of Musikfest, a mostly free musik festival that konsumes Bethlehem, Pa.,  for two weeks or so every summer.

I read about the RSB in the paper at 8 or so this morning and decided I would enjoy going, even though I could imagine their sound in my head — some slow blues here, some N’Awlins second-line there, lots of long solos — and I don’t usually go in for that.

I set out for Musikfest at about 8 p.m.; flailed around Southside Bethlehem for a while looking for a place to park; and then finally gave up and came home.

So they could be tearing it up and I’ll never know.

A shame, I suppose.

I am sanguine about it. There are not that many gigs I could have seen in my realistic lifetime that I truly regret missing.

I’ve told the story in other settings about how my brother and dad saw Stevie Ray Vaughan two months or so before he died, and how I didn’t go with them because I was scheduled to wash dishes at Perkins.

That would have been fun to see. But on the other hand, I get farther and farther from honky-blues string-strangling with each passing year, so I no longer feel any great sense of loss over missing that one.

I probably missed at least one chance to be in the same room as the Kinks, because I didn’t understand their genius when they were still together. The late-era Kinks weren’t the same band that did the Kinks’ best music, though, and the more recent tunes they were flogging didn’t have as much to recommend them. So, no tremendous loss.

Similarly, I intentionally skipped this year’s reunion of the Beach Boys, because 70-year-old Mike Love and no Carl or Dennis Wilson ain’t how I like to think of the Beach Boys.

On the other hand, some of the musical performances I remember best are things I never thought I would enjoy — or even things I never even anticipated hearing.

When I was a kid, the great jazz drummer Max Roach performed at my high school (we had a big jazz program.) At one point he played an entire solo, several minutes’ worth, using just his high-hat. I happened to be sitting in the front row next to three or four student drummers, and will never forget the sight of their jaws dropping in unison as they watched a legend practice his craft.

More recently, I remember sitting under a tree outside Lehigh University’s Packer Chapel on a sensational spring day, hearing a choir rehearse for Bethlehem’s annual Bach Festival. The combination of the weather, the setting and the music was about as close as I have ever come to a religious experience. I thought any Supreme Being who could guide me into such a confluence of sunlight and counterpoint must have a pretty strong argument for Him/Herself.

The moral of the story, then: There is no use crying over missed gigs.

The world is full of wonderful music. Keep your ears open, enjoy what you can get to, and let the rest go.

The RSB? I’ll see ’em next year. If there is no next year, I’ll see someone else. And maybe that will be the show I talk about for the rest of my life.