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REVIEW: Little River Band’s Yacht Rock Revival (Treasure Island Resort & Casino)

A collage of promotional images for Peter Beckett’s Player, Ambrosia, and Little River Band.

There’s a certain kind of 70s/80s soft rock called Yacht Rock. As a similarly named station on Sirius-XM says, this “smooth-sailing soft rock…doesn’t rock the boat.” Perhaps, but the number of people climbing aboard at Saturday’s Treasure Island Casino & Resort’s Rock the Yacht concert was enough to have the boat dipping low in the water. A sold-out crowd filled the hall to greet a trio of acts: Peter Beckett’s Player, Ambrosia, and Little River Band.

Player’s set was brief, barely long enough to play its three major hits: “Baby Come Back”, “This Time I’m in It for Love”, and “How Long Has This Been Going On?” (The band also snuck in a song from a Peter Beckett solo album, “My Religion”.) These were tight arrangements, with a lot of guitar-driven energy behind soft pop hits.

Ambrosia (out of San Pedro, they reminded us) made the intriguing decision to start its set with the relatively obscure “Nice, Nice, Very Nice”, before moving on to its more famous hits: “You’re the Only Woman”, “How Much I Feel”, and “Biggest Part of Me”. Bruce Hornsby was briefly a member of the group, and Ambrosia honored the memory with a nice rendition of Hornsby’s hit, “The Way It Is”. This set allowed a bit more time for long solos on guitar, keyboards, and drums.

The headliner for the evening, and the last group up, was Little River Band. The band ran a workmanlike set marked by its best-known songs: “Lonesome Loser”, “Help is On its Way”, “Take It Easy on Me”, Reminiscing”, “Cool Change”, “The Night Owls”, “Lady”, “Man on Your Mind”, “Happy Anniversary”, and “It’s a Long Way There”. Little River Band snuck in two relatively new (from 2013’s Cuts Like a Diamond) songs into the middle of the set, “The Lost and the Lonely” and “I’m an Island”, with a quip that they knew that “new songs cause [the audience] to pee”.

It was a lively and buoyant evening. The Treasure Island audience was on its feet for much of the evening, singing along to every old hit. Audience members were treated to three great sets as some of the artists even mingled with fans in the lobby between sets. It was an evening to evoke old Top 40 listening and all the memories that come with familiar tunes.