By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
It is always good news to hear that George Thorogood and the Destroyers are performing at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida! The evening of March 5th was packed to the ceiling with concertgoers, many loyal followers, sporting tour t-shirts from years past. GTD have been entertaining crowds for over 40 years with their high-energy boogie blues–and show no signs of stopping!
Prior to the show starting, an announcer stepped on the stage requesting, “no cell phones or recording devices” and added, “We aren’t 21.” Kansas City blues artist Nick Schnebelen warmed up the crowd with his raspy voice and electrified set. The threesome band (although they incorporated a guest guitarist for a couple of songs) played for a good 45 minutes. He dedicated a song to Alvin Lee and Ten Years After by performing “10 Years After and 50 Years Later.” He spoke between songs, saying how grateful he was to be touring with George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and ended the set with a standing ovation.
The stage darkened and “Eve of Destruction” played before George Thorogood came out on stage dressed in black, wearing black wraparound sunglasses, and a wide snakeskin material headband. Thorogood played some of his classic recorded songs, covers albeit, but much loved such as “Who Do You Love?” and “Night Time”. He often ad libbed humorous lyrics or phrases like, “I want to be with you—and your girlfriend too!”
By the time Thorogood performed, “I Drink Alone”, there were hands with cell phones raised in the air, recording the performance for social media. He received a standing ovation.
Thorogood then walked to the drum kit with his back to the crowd, took off the head band, and primped his hair for the crowd. He sang the beloved “I Drink Alone” and gave the crowd a little PSA about drinking after “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer.”
Thorogood then asked the crowd, “Everybody having a good time?” The crowd cheered and whistled with approval, as he continued, “Sometimes I’m so full of shit. I can’t believe it!” He then said, “I dedicate this to all the ladies—but then, we aren’t gonna’ do that tonight. I dedicate this song to all the girls—we aren’t gonna do that tonight either. I dedicate this song to all the women!” He then roared into “Great Jammer” and performed an exceptional guitar solo. What tone and technique!
Thorogood then told the crowd, “It’s good to be back at the Sunshine State. As you can see, I don’t get out often.” He then continued saying, “It took me 40 years to get here and I want to enjoy every second of it!” He quipped about the next song, “Let’s get sophisticated” as the band performed “Get a Haircut” which featured on spot harmonies from guitarist Jim Suhler.
Before performing a crowd favorite “Bad to the Bone”, he dedicated the song to “the coolest guy around” and exclaimed, “me!”
Honestly, one never tires of seeing George Thorogood and the Destroyers. The Destroyers (Jeff Simon, Bill Blough, Jim Suhler, and Buddy Leach) were fantastic and I especially loved the songs which incorporated the sax. Even if the play list is the same each tour, the music and visual show is blues-rockin’ good! The man at age 70 shows no sign of slowing down—and looks fit as he moved around the stage. The Baby Boomer and Gen X audience looked more aged with their polyester clothing and baseball caps than this ageless rocker!
At least once in your lifetime, one has to see George Thorogood perform live. You will be foot-tapping the entire time and will later check tour dates to see when you can see him next! A great show, as always!