Way over 100 shows in 2012- a personal record!
I’ve seen Kenny Wayne Shepherd numerous times over the years. He was the opener at the first G3 concert at the Hollywood Bowl in the mid-90s. I’ve also seen him play at blues festivals and on the Experience Hendrix tour, where they played a short but sweet set on music. Prior to this, I most recently caught the show last year at the Ventura Theater.
Like last time, Kenny Wayne’s band was spot-on. He definitely has a top-notch band with Chris Layton (formerly of Double Trouble) on drums, Riley Osborn (formerly of Willie Nelson’s band) on keys, fretless bassist Tony Franklin (from The Firm and Blue Murder) and the incredible Noah Hunt on vocals.
The sound level and quality was really good. The volume level was just right. The opener number “Never Looking Back”, is worth the price of admission alone. The vocals are perfect and the song rocks right along. The band rocked all night long. The rhythm section and the keyboards were phenomenal. For part of the encore, they did a rocking version of “Oh Well” by Fleetwood Mac. That was a real highlight of the show.
The way KWS plays Hendrix tunes doesn’t sit well with me. He also tends to be a little self-indulgent with all those notes. I don’t really like blues guitar all that much (or at least in large doses), so I’m kind of picky. He is, without question, a very competent guitar player and played great at the show, but I don’t really see the real fascination with him. I think there are tons of people playing the blues just as well and, from what I can tell, he isn’t really bringing anything new to the table in terms of guitar playing.
Even so, this band does rock. I’d definitely see this band again. They did a lot breakdowns, jams and neat parts you don’t normally hear from these days. I just think they deserve to have a band’s name, not just the name of the guitarist when they are all as talented as they are.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd set list (Approximate):
Never Lookin’ Back
Everything Is Broken
Come On Over
Shame, Shame, Shame
Dark Side Of Love
Blue On Black
I’m A King Bee
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)