Thorogood lets music dominate the stage

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By MICHAEL PERRY, Courier & Press correspondent
March 26, 2006

If you like straight ahead, no frills rock 'n' roll, The Centre was the place to be on Saturday night. On an almost bare stage, except for a drum kit, some speakers and a few microphone stands, George Thorogood and the Destroyers brought their distinct version of the blues to 1,932 mostly satisfied fans. The band of five, consisting of Thorogood, drummer Jeff Simon, bassist Bill Blough, guitarist Jim Suhler and saxaphonist Buddy Leach, took the stage a few minutes after 9 p.m. and after Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" played to a darkened theater. Dressed all in black, the minimalist approach of the band managed to place the emphasis on the music played. Because the blues is the root of rock 'n' roll, this stripped-down effect was the perfect complement to Thorogood's library. Having performed approximately 30 years, it was refreshing to see someone enjoy himself as much as Thorogood.

Driven forward by the rhythm section like a chunky locomotive, most of the songs seemed to take on a life of their own. Whether is was the immediately recognizable "Bo Diddley" back beat of "Who Do You Love," the opening chords of "I Drink Alone," or the quasi-spoken blues standard, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," Thorogood and the band had most of the fans on their feet from the opening number.

Thorogood is first and foremost an excellent guitar player, and this was never more evident than on his biggest hit, "Bad to the Bone." He spent the night spinning and duck walking, but mostly playing blistering blues.

"Nighttime," a J. Geil's Band song, was another highlight of the show. Between the playing of Thorogood and the driving force of the Destroyers, each song almost had a hypnotic effect. At various times throughout the show, fans were either dancing in the aisles, or seated, simply nodding their heads to the beat.

The Centre is not the most conducive place for a show of this nature. By the time the sound gets up to the upper balcony, it is so muffled to be almost unlistenable. The middle tier is much better as far as the sound goes, but the seats are still too far away to allow the listener to get involved. Only on the bottom level does the full concert experience come full circle. Even then, audience participation is somewhat limited. Cross Canadian Ragweed opened and sounded like a mixture of Tom Petty, Blackfoot, The Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band has been playing for almost 12 years, and although it hasn't received the accolades of other bands together that long, it isn't from lack of talent. The tickets for the show indicated that the concert was to begin at 8 p.m.; however when this reviewer entered the auditorium at 7:45, the show already was in progress. Near the end of Thorogood's encore as he introduced the band, he dared to ask the question, "Who is the baddest?" Obviously, it is you, George ... to the bone.

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This page contains a single entry by fountainhead published on March 26, 2006 1:34 PM.

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