By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: The Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, Florida–December 16, 2016–The Outlaws, The Henry Paul Band, and BlackHawks
Well, it is holiday time again and that means—as promised last year—Southern rock favorites The Outlaws are back at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. Last year Rock At Night had the pleasure of seeing The Outlaws and The Henry Paul Band, which turned out to be a reminder of hits from past and a magnificent jam session. I figured it would be difficult to top this year.
Well, on the night of December 16, 2016, the Capitol Theatre had a sold out show for the homecoming of The Outlaws. Since Henry Paul’s roots extend to Tampa (he paid homage to King High School’s Class of ’67 during the evening) a lot of friends and long-time followers were in the crowd of what appeared to be Baby Boomers.
The first band on the stage was BlackHawk. The interesting item I noticed immediately was the absence of percussion as the music was vocal, string, and keyboard-driven (think Bruce Hornsby). I was unfamiliar with their music as it is country (not my specialty) but I very much enjoyed the set. The song themes appeared to center around women and relationships and the harmonies were gorgeous. Between song takes Henry Paul chatted with the audience and paid homage to late Blackhawks founder Van Stephenson.
After a 20-minute intermission, The Henry Paul Band was on stage playing a more rocking repertoire with percussion (drums and congas) as well as dual lead electric guitars. One of the band members noted as Henry Paul slipped into each band, “Henry Paul has had not 1, 2, but 3 careers.” Some of the highlights were the raucous “One Night Stand”, a full-blown Southern rock song in all its glory, including cool B-3 riffs and dual lead guitars. The band played one of their hits “So Long” and by the time they ended the set with “Grey Ghost” the mostly grey-haired audience was taping the live show with their cell phones, singing along with the chorus, and with “we-are-not-worthy” arms raised, praising the band. It was a definite set highlight and truly a memorable moment.
After a 30-minute intermission, The Outlaws emerged playing their well-known hits at the get-go, including “There Goes Another Love Song” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. The seat-wiggling or chair-dancing crowd finally stood high with arms waving during the numbers but then sat down to enjoy the rest of the show, which lasted about 90 minutes. Some of the highlights included “Born to Be Bad” with lyrics that define the spirit of Southern rock… rebel gypsy till the day I die. Between the harmonies and the singing of Henry Paul and my new favorite voice, Chris Anderson (“Song in the Breeze” and “Holiday”), I was in Southern rock hog heaven! All of the classic hits were nostalgic and pleasing to the ears but I really enjoyed two of the newer hits “Trail of Tears” with its Indian drum beat and “It’s a Matter of Pride”, whose chorus says…it’s about pride/it’s about who we are/it’s knowing where we’ve been and how we’ve come so far.” The song honors Rebel pride–and makes no excuses.
The evening segued into a country tone with songs like “Knoxville Girl” and finally, since it was nearing midnight, ended with the bands most famous hit “Green Grass and High Tide.”
The Outlaws set was definitely a polished collection of bluesy, rocking songs which celebrated Southern rock in all its glory. The Outlaws, including the Henry Paul Band and BlackHawk, are truly a brotherhood of musicians, that swap members between each band, and are determined to keep Southern rock alive. They do not run around stage and vogue but saunter back and forth to group together, do an occasional electric guitar squat, and a hair flip now and then. The Outlaws don’t have to put on a visual show because the quality of the music and musicianship speak for themselves.
Check out Rock At Night’s review of The Outlaws new Legacy LIVE Album
The Henry Paul Band
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