By Chyrisse Tabone
Review: .38 Special at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, Florida–December 10, 2020
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).
.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.
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!
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
You Keep Runnin’Away
Like No Other Night
Feelin’ Stronger Every Day
Ride the Storm
If I’d Been the One
Trooper with an Attitude
Caught Up in You
Hold On Loosely