.38 Special brings the best of 80s Southern Rock to Clearwater

.38 Special-Don Barnes & Jerry Riggs

By Chyrisse Tabone

Review: .38 Special at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida–December 10, 2020

Don Barnes

It has been a week of concerts at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida! Monday night Rock At Night reviewed Geoff Tate, the Voice of Queensrÿche, and tonight, it was a trip back to the 80s—again—with .38 Special! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

The band .38 Special are on a mini-tour of Florida, playing in Clearwater and tomorrow night in their hometown Jacksonville. The band .38 Special is comprised of founder Don Barnes (guitar/vocals), Bobby Capps (key/vocals), Garry Moffatt (drums), Barry Dunaway (bass), and Jerry Riggs (guitar).

Jerry Riggs

.38 Special came out of the starting gate full sprint with “Rockin’ into the Night”, which started what would be considered a night of “greatest hits”.  Kicking back into my seat, I time-traveled back to 80s FM radio and MTV, as .38 Special dominated the airwaves. The 50- and 60-something crowd got exactly what they came for as the band segued from one hit to another.  “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys”, “Somebody Like You”, “Fantasy Girl”, and “If I’d Been the One” had the crowd singing along and head-bobbing with approval.   Most of the crowd sat comfortably in their seats, a few stood up to dance, but there was plenty of cheering after each song.

Bobby Capps showed off his keys in “Honk Tonk Dancer” and killed it singing “Second Chance” and “Good Times”. One would never believe he is in his mid-70s.  Don Barnes looked fit and sang better than people half his age. The band must be drinking from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine.

Bobby Capps

A heavy rock song with an infectious riff “Ride the Storm”, also a song from Barne’s solo album, was a highlight.  The band’s cover of Chicago’s “Feeling Stronger Every Day” was especially meaningful in this year of COVID.

Toward the end of the concert, Garry Moffatt performed a drum solo, which was really enjoyable.  It sounds cliché but the use of cowbell in the mix really spiced it up! Jerry Riggs played a beautiful instrumental (please don’t chide me, but I am guessing it was “Guitars from Hell”, a song he penned with Pat Travers). He showed masterful skill of guitar tone, and besides his guitar playing, I am sure every man in the audience had “hair envy”.

Overall, it was a great evening of memories, as the band closed with “Caught Up in You” and “Hold On Loosely”.  Long live the 80s!

Photo Gallery

Set List


Rockin’ into the Night


Back Where You Belong

Wild-Eyed Southern Boys

Back to Paradise

The Sound of Your Voice

Somebody Like You

Honky Tonk Dancer

Teacher, Teacher

You Keep Runnin’Away

Second Chance

Like No Other Night

Feelin’ Stronger Every Day

Ride the Storm

If I’d Been the One

Fantasy Girl

Good Times

Trooper with an Attitude

Caught Up in You

Hold On Loosely





Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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