George Thorogood re-energizes electric blues

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By Bill Locey
Sunday, March 2, 2008

The greatest band from Delaware made a rare stop at the venerable Majestic Ventura Theatre, and the locals loved it. George Thorogood & the Destroyers has been re-energizing the electric blues from those old blues guys and then some, ripping through his nearly three decades of rockers, and leaving the joint hooting and dancing.

Born in Wilmington on New Year's Eve 1950, the former semi-pro second baseman opted for a more lucrative career as a rock star, and seems to hit a homer every time he takes the stage. His breakthrough album, "Move It On Over,'' came out in 1978, and an opening slot on a Rolling Stones tour and a well-publicized 50 gigs in 50 days in 50 states tour back in '81 didn't hurt, either.

Gathered to hear what's advertised as the "World's Greatest Bar Band," the fans, many imitating the world's greatest barflies, were elbow-bending sufficiently Monday night to keep four bartenders and several barmaids busy. This was a sit-down dinner show, and the balcony was fairly packed as well.

The turnaround time between the opener and the headliner was mercifully brief and as the stage was bathed in blue light, the crowd became impatient; some actually stood up. In the balcony, it was whistlehead night as people took turns scaring each other with shrill whistles, hoping that would make George move it on over to the stage. The whistling turned to cheers when Barry McGuire's protest classic, "Eve of Destruction,'' came blasting over the sound system. But since Thorogood is as about as apolitical as Ward Cleaver, the choice of the song made little sense unless the "Eve of Destruction'' alluded to the impending appearance of the Destroyers. Yeah, that must be it. Anyway, the blue backdrop turned into a rainstorm with all sorts of lightning — if there was a bit of automatic weapons fire, it would've been a Ted Nugent intro.

Instead, it was Thorogood with Republican short hair, a headband and giant white guitar and the four Destroyers, who have probably done this a few times before. Right away, the die was cast — a massive guitar solo, the occasional duck walk and cheers from the crowd. While it's true that Thorogood basically re-invented all the classic blues guys like Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker, many of his familiar songs are his own originals, but any George song without a guitar solo would be like a Twinkie without the white stuff.

And the crowd was primed — cheering at all the appropriate moments, such as whenever George mentioned "Southern California'' or "any Destroyer fans?'' or "How does it feel to be 17 years old again?'' or even when the lights came on as bright as the sun, blinding us all temporarily.

The Dedicated knew the words, too, helping out with the chorus of "One bourbon, one scotch, one beer.'' Good job.

No surprises — Thorogood gave them what they wanted — all those rockin' blues songs off all those albums over all those years. The end of destruction featured his two signature tunes, "Bad to the Bone'' and "Move It on Over,'' which was an appropriate cue to take a few steps up the street to Dargan's, where the Corsican Brothers were unleashing their melodic take on the history of power pop.

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This page contains a single entry by fountainhead published on March 8, 2008 12:13 AM.

George Thorogood Preparing For A New Album And Tour was the previous entry in this blog.

Thorogood still a heavy hitter is the next entry in this blog.

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