Marx and Scannell terrific in performance at the Empire
December 1, 2010 By Aaron Bell

Music fans at the Empire Theatre have witnessed some truly remarkable performances at the downtown theatre since it was renovated and re-opened in 2003 and Wednesday’s acoustic performance by Richard Marx and Matt Scannell rates among the best.

Richard Marx and Matt Scannell performed an acoustic set at the Empire Theatre in Belleville on Wednesday Dec. 1. Photo by Aaron Bell/

Marx, who had a string of contemporary hits in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s, and Scannell, lead vocalist of Vertical Horizon, led an appreciative crowd through a pair of sets of hits from both of their careers.

Marx and Scannell are close friends and it showed throughout the set. Their stripped down production fit the performance perfectly and they quickly brought the audience into their circle. For the last song of their opening set – Always on Your Mind – they literally went unplugged, sitting on the edge of the stage and belting the duet out without an amplification on their voices or guitars.

Marx said this was their first performance together in Canada and first anywhere in several months. But if they were at all rusty, you couldn’t tell. Their vocal harmonies were terrific – especially on the Vertical Horizon hit I’m Still Here.

Marx and Scannell took the stage without any opening act and it was apparent why very quickly. They both had terrific stories to share about their song-writing processes – and even their trips into Toronto. Marx also took some time to poke fun at the mullet he had two decades ago.

“We’ve all made hair or fashion mistakes in our lives,” he told the audience. “But your sh*t isn’t on YouTube. I have three sons – the Marx Brothers – and they torture me about YouTube.”

If fans forgot about Marx’s songwriting and singing ability, they were quickly reminded of why he strung together hits like Hold On To The Nights, Right Here Waiting, Hazard and Endless Summer Nights.

He clearly still loves to sing those songs and his fans were happy to hear them again.