ZZ Top / Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Sep. 30 2016
Last show of the concert season for the Gold Countries Ironstone Amphitheater. It was an amazing summer season with so many great shows. A very aggressive line-up this year by promoter Richter Entertainment Group. So how do you end the summer ….. by putting an Iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Band ZZ Top with one of the best blues guitarists on earth, Kenny Wayne Shepard.
KWS Band was a late addition to the show due to the untimely hospitalization of Gregg Allman. As we wish Mr. Allman a speedy recovery we were not upset with the addition of KWS and this alone may have sparked a rush of last minute ticket buyers that may not have been there otherwise.
Kenny Wayne Shepard took this show by it’s throat, shook it up a few times and rolled it out as one of the best performances I’ve seen this summer. Mixing his new music with the old stuff, if you consider 1995 old. Rejoice America as we have a young talented guitarist that not only believes in “Keeping the Blues Alive” but pays homage and tribute to the greats lost to us all. BB King, Buddy Lee, and Howlin Wolf to name a few. The late great Jimi Hendrex also honored. This was my second time hearing Kenny and the band perform Voodoo Child live. I was lucky enough to see Jimi perform it as well in 1968 at Ventura Community College. Jimi would be proud as we all are proud to call Kenny one of our great American Bluesman. With sidekick Noah Hunt joining the band in 1998 as the iconic voice behind the lyrics this band has forged it’s way into mainstream America. I look forward to the next time I get to see them live. 55 minutes is not enough KWS for anyone, we needed more.
In 2004 ZZ Top was admitted into the rock and roll Hall of Fame due to a full 40+ year career of hit after hit. For a band that hasn't released a new recording in over 13 years they continue to sell tickets. Their loyal fans flock to see them but judging by the size of last nights crowd their ticket sales are diminishing. They are a very professional and polished band. The songs are delivered on time and on key and easy to listen to whether seated or dancing in the isle. The problem in my eyes are, they haven’t changed. The same songs performed in the same way with the same gestures and posses as two years ago and two years before that. Maybe folks aren’t willing to plunk down top dollar for the same stuff. As usual I ask folks leaving what they thought of the show. For ZZ top it was all over the place from amazing, the greatest ever to simply, they sucked. It was unanimous that Kenny stole the show.
I hope the music industry is listening, if you are a classic rock band you better not mail it in, the fans deserve better for their hard earned money on their big night out.
I want to thank Ironstone, REG and The Valley Springs News for giving me the opportunity to photograph and write about this seasons shows. It was a great summer. Congratulations for a job well done all summer by your staffs. No matter what entertainers are signed to play, the venue is always the star.