BluesWax Spotlight On
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
January 26, 2013
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
By Phillip Smith
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s second live performance for 2013 landed them in front of a completely sold out crowd in Riverside, Iowa. With Kenny and Noah Hunt front and center, the remaining members of the band are Chris Layton on drums, Tony Franklin on bass guitar, and Riley Osbourn on the B3 and keyboards.
I could feel the excitement in the air as the band took the stage. Leading off with “Never Looking Back,” “Somehow Somewhere Someway,” and “Everything is Broken” certainly warmed the audience up and left them hungry for more. Then after asking if everyone was ready for some Texas blues, Noah picked up his acoustic guitar and the band broke into riveting rendition of “Butterfly.” After which, it was announced Kenny Wayne Shepherd would have two albums coming out this year. One with Stephen Stills, and the other, another blues album with the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.
A certain momentum was building with the song selection and I could feel something spectacular was coming around the corner. It was. Noah grabbed his tambourine and Kenny began playing his guitar intro to “Deja Voodoo” as Riley Osbourn joined in on keyboards. It was so smooth. I loved the guitar solo on this one too, as did the gentleman sitting next to me. He turned to me and asked, ‘Who’s better than this?” and before I could say anything, he so matter-of-factly stated, ‘Nobody!”
When it comes to great rocking-blues voices, very few are on the same level as Noah Hunt. The man can sing like there is no tomorrow. “Shame Shame Shame,” which showcased these vocals, also provided a spotlight moment for the rest of the band which broke into a soulful, groovy jam midway before Kenny nailed another awe-inspiring guitar solo.
Breaking out his black Stratocaster with the racing stripes, Kenny tore through a killer solo for “Dark Side of Love.” They then, climatically followed up with “Shotgun Blues,” which brought everyone out of their chairs and onto their feet. For the last song of the set, Shepherd tool a 180-degree turn and beautifully performs the instrumental “While We Cry.” This was one of my favorite moments of the evening.
“Blue on Black,” which initiated the encore sequence and brought everyone back on their feet again, joining in on an audience sing-a-long. “I’m a King Bee” followed up next, and was dedicated by Noah to all the girls because they always go crazy on a full moon. The moon was indeed full and, from my viewpoint, it wasn’t just the girls going crazy. The band was supercharged. Kenny and Tony Franklin were in perfect synchronicity, and Noah was singing loud and strong.
Hoping for at least one more song, my prayers were answered. A very familiar”‘wacka wacka” expelled from the stage, giving way to “Voodoo Child.” One word: “stupendous!” Kenny and Tony strutted back and forth across the stage peacocking while Noah pumped his mike stand in the air. Chris Layton was amazing to watch on this one, too. And with a furious finish, the show ended on a high note with the crowd still wanting more.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Never Looking Back
Somehow Somewhere Someway
Everything is Broken
Born with a Broken Heart
Shame Shame Shame
Dark Side of Love
While We Cry
Blue on Black
I’m a King Bee
Now that you have read about the show, go to this week’s Photo Page to see some of Phillip’s personal photographs of the show.
Phillip Smith is a contributing writer at BluesWax.
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