I'm sure you all guessed which of those guilty pleasures I mentioned yesterday was the one we indulged last night. We saw the show here:
The amphitheater is an outdoor venue.
An outdoor event is a risky venture pretty much anywhere in the US except maybe the desert. Rain, snow, wind, excessive chill or heat -- all are possible, perhaps even in the same day. But as you can tell from the above photo, we had ideal weather last night. The sky was perfectly clear, there was no wind, the temp was about 70℉ at the time of the photo, dropping to the high 50s by 11:30 when it was all over. Luckily Smokey had reminded me that the concert was going to be outdoors so I was prepared with heavy socks, fingerless gloves, a wool scarf, warm sweats to pull on over my jeans and t-shirt, and my Calorimetry. (Turned out I didn't need the scarf or Cal and only needed the gloves for a short period -- as soon as I started clapping again my hands got warm.) We even brought a down comforter stuffed into a tote bag just in case; never took it out.
You cold-weather-phobes are shaking your heads right now, while many of the Upper Midwesterners are nodding in agreement with my assessment of the weather. So be it. Let's agree to disagree and move on, 'kay?
Jonny Lang (first link has audio of Bump in the Road that starts automatically when the page loads; turn down your sound if you are at work and crank it up if you are at home) was the warm-up act, although any number of people at the concert were there specifically to see him; George Thorogood was "...just the icing on the cake", to quote the guy who was sitting next to us.
[digression] When that guy slid onto the bench next to me, he said looked over and said, "Well, hey, Smokey! Small world, man!" Turns out he a CD counselor on one of the chemical dependency units at the hospital where Smokey works. They have worked together many times, and Smokey likes him a lot. Rick is a good man: good with the kids, good to work with. It was a treat to meet him and his wife. [/digression]
Jonny Lang is an awesomely talented blues musician, a semi-local boy from Fargo, ND, who already sounded like a 40-year-old blues singer when he hit the charts at age 14. I saw him once at a Twin Cities Best Buy store in the mid-90s. Didn't know who he was at that time. I just saw this pimply-faced teenager who looked like he should be bagging groceries at Super Valu sitting behind a table autographing CDs for a long line of people. Had to ask who he was. Duh.
Like all good [blues] musicians, he really gets into a song.
Having trouble seeing it?
How about now?
This is actually a very mild grimace. That young man really, really feels his music.
Disclaimer: I don't mean to sound snarky, even though I do. He is awesome and I love him and his music. It is just that displays of emotion are disquieting to say the least to us Scandinavians. Hence, my comments.
It is always a plus when, in addition to being talented and entertaining, the performer seems to be a decent human being. Jonny Lang gave us that plus.
On to the headliner, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. (Note: once again, the first link automatically cues up and starts an audio; turn down your speakers if you are at work and crank 'em up if you are at home.)
It was dark by the time George came on, and I wasn't able to get good still photos of him. (The two photos in the Wikipedia article could have been taken last night, though -- he wore that same black t-shirt and pants and coordinating headband and played that same white guitar.) Here is the only video I took that turned out to be in focus. The sound sucks, but that is because it was LOUD! and overwhelmed the microphone in my little camera. Rest assured, it sound way better in person.
Notice how bored the bass player looks. That was actually the most animated performance he put on all night. I guess when you have an exhibitionist in the front, you don't need to put on a show in the background.
As good a show as GT & D put on, I cannot say that he came across as a decent human being. An extrovert and a flamboyant rocker, but not necessarily someone you would want to have coffee with or have as a neighbor. (Gee, ya think, Kath?) Happily, that quality of decency is not required of a performer, only that they entertain us, which he most certainly did. At one point, right after he had made some overtly sexual remarks apparently directed at a woman in the audience, he laughed and said, "I'm so full of shit I don't even believe it myself."
I find it amusing that Smokey and I -- about as far from party animals and drinkers as two people can be -- enjoy this performer and his music so much. Thorogood and the Destroyers are the ultimate down-and-dirty bar band. Another comment I heard: "I don't even like to drink that much, but when I hear these guys I just want to go get hammered."
And that is the perfect compliment to their style of music. Total fun and a rollicking good time; just don't take it too much to heart.