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J. Geils Band still plays every show like it could be its last

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

During the past couple of years the J. Geils Band has played shows in just two places — its hometown of Boston and its adopted home town of Detroit. But this year the group has branched out a bit, with nine dates — its biggest outing since a reunion tour in 1999.

But frontman Peter Wolf is ready to call it a tour.

“We don’t consider ourselves a reunion,” explains Wolf (ne Blankfield), 65. “When the planets align, we get together ... and try to think of ways of making it exciting and keeping the musical bar up.

“You never know when it’s the last time everyone’s going to be able to gather, so it’s more coming from the opportunity to revisit the material that we created and just have ourselves a communion and a party with the audience that we love.”

This year marks a couple of special anniversaries in Geils’ career. It’s 35 years since “Blow Your Face Out,” the landmark double live album that was recorded partly at Detroit’s Cobo Hall. And it’s 30 years since “Freeze Frame,” the group’s only chart-topping and platinum album — and also Wolf’s last studio set with the group before leaving in 1982.

It also featured “Centerfold,” Geils’ only No. 1 hit — and wasn’t the band’s first choice to be the lead single.

“I wanted ‘Freeze Frame’ to be the first single, and Seth (Justman, Geils’ keyboardist and Wolf’s co-writer) wanted ‘Angel in Blue,’” recalls Wolf. “And after we were already making a different video, the record company said, ‘Fellas, we gotta do ‘Centerfold.’ Stop what you’re doing and think about ‘Centerfold.’

“The rest, as they say, was history. We didn’t think of ‘Centerfold’ as a single; we thought it was a fun track, but we didn’t think it would have the impact that it did. It was really the first time we felt like we had arrived with a certain kind of musical respect.”

The J. Geils Band and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $25-$75 pavilion, $25 lawn with a $60 lawn four-pack. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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