Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Music in My Backyard - Rockin' The Blues

Mixing things up today. Gonna get a little wild and crazeee. Get ready...I'm combining 2 of my fav blog topics: Music and Backyard. Whoa! Hope I didn't lose you there...hold'll be fine.

Recently I got to enjoy some good ole time rock 'n roll at a local venue I had never been to before (but have been wanting to visit after hearing some really promising reviews).
Thanks to the generosity of NBC10 WJAR-TV, I won tickets to the "Rock 'n Blues Fest" at Park Theater in Cranston, RI. The show starred rock, blues and veteran Woodstock performers and bands: 
  1. Canned Heat
  2. Pat Travers Band
  3. Rick Derringer
  4. Edgar Winter
  5. Ten Years After
What a lineup! What an exciting show! And what a nice theater!

Hold my hand...its time to step inside the way-back machine...groooovy...................

Each band/artist played an approximately 30 minute long jammed-packed-full-of-hits set.

First up was Canned Heat. Anyone who's watched the Woodstock documentary or any other bit of cinema about the Vietnam era has heard this blues based band. Their iconic song "Going Up The Country" is featured in many a television show and movie. Songs like "Let's Work Together" have forever identified the band with this pivotal time in American history. What a treat to finally get to see them live, albeit with a few missing key personnel, namely Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson whose instantly recognizable tenor was sadly absent. However Dale Spalding did an admirable job substituting for the late lead singer. Rounding out the lineup were long-time band members Larry Taylor, Fito de la Parra and Harvey Mandel.

Second act was the handsome, hard workin' Canadian bluesman, Pat Travers. The sound of his smoking guitar reverberated off the walls and ceiling. Bass and drums pounded and rolled through the floor right into the soles of my feet. The band tore through perennial crowd favorites "Boom Boom Out Go The Lights" and "Snortin' Whiskey". Sounded as strong as ever. Fans of the talented guitarist cheered when he announced the band had released a new CD "Can Do" which is currently charting on iTunes. The underrated guitarist performed a catchy new song, "Diamond Girl", from the new recording for the appreciative audience.

After a quick change by the road crew, former teen heart throb (well, he was to ME anyway!) Rick Derringer took the stage to thunderous applause. Many of you might remember his huge 70's hit "Rock 'n Roll Hoochie Koo" (which of course the band totally RAWKED). But way before he hit it big as a solo act with "Koo", Rick had been a founding member of the 60's band "The McCoys". When he launched into their million-seller "Hang on Sloopy", the crowd went wild! Wow! Talk about flashback! He had the crowd swaying and singing along with a song, that even tho it is almost 50 years old, still sounded great! He proudly regaled the audience with a bit of nostalgia about how the song was once number 1 on the charts in front of that Beatles classic "Yesterday". He also had the delighted audience humming along to the elusive seldom heard second verse.

After the first three acts, it was announced that there'd be a short intermission (thankfully allowing the older crowd to get up and stretch their legs). It also gave me a moment to reflect on such a terrific venue. Finding it was a snap. Parking is generous and free! The acoustics in the place were perfect for a concert. Ushers were plentiful and helpful. I vowed to revisit the theater...soon! The coming lineup looks very promising (including an appearance by the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer, Graham Nash!)

Fifteen minutes later, the lights dimmed and the multi-talented musician Edgar Winter strode out on stage and launched into a rockin' blues number. The crowd was immediately on its feet. Loudly cheering. Clapping. The tall Texan showcased his many talents as he switched up from keyboards to sax to percussion, and even performed a truly mesmerizing scat see-saw with his just as skilled lead guitarist. Of course, no Edgar Winter show would be complete without the electrifying rock classic "Frankenstein" hammered out on a keyboard slung from a strap around his neck. He ended his much-too-short set with the former guitarist for both he and his brother Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer, joining him onstage for a rendition of another of his hits from the 70's, "Free Ride".

The night ended with another Woodstock stand-out, Ten Years After, taking the stage. Sadly, they performed without the legendary guitarist Alvin Lee who passed away earlier this year. However, newcomer Joe Gooch did an admirable job singing and shredding his six-string on the iconic band's songs. Joe joined founding members of the British blues band, Leo Lyons, Chick Churchill and Ric Lee, in bringing the crowd to their feet and dancing in the aisles when they delivered the goods on the quartet's biggest hits, "I'd Love To Change The World" and "Love Like A Man".

And just like was over. Way too soon. All of the artists in tonight's show have so much more in their huge music catalogs. More that I wanted to hear. Hopefully, they'll come around again real soon. But if not, I'm very grateful to WJAR-TV and the Park Theater for allowing me to experience, once again, not just fantastic music but music that brought back fantastic memories.


  1. Wow! What a lineup! Sounds like you had fun! I wish the current music was this interesting!

    1. It was a great lineup. Hope they come around again next year. A few of the bands mentioned that they may be back but touring on their own; that way their fans could hear more from them other than just a small 30 minute set.
      And you're so right, current music just doesn't hold a candle to some of the great sounds from yesteryear.


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