Blues and rock 'n' roll legend, George Thorogood and his band, the Destroyers dropped in to the Okanagan for a few hours Sunday night. I say that, because the concert at the South Okanagan Events Centre felt more like a large party than a concert.
Thorogood, whose down-home charm can still reach every audience member, did not disappoint as he brought out the baddest and the best songs of his lengthy career. From the very first song, Sweet Little Rock and Roller, Thorogood had the boomers singing along and chair dancing while the slightly more energetic 20 and 30 something party goers danced, sang and fist pumped from the floor. As for Thorogood, at 62, he had equal to twice the energy of anyone in the room. Thorogood was relentless in his pace on stage.
He launched into Who do You Love and it was apparent from the crowd's reaction that it was Thorogood and the Destroyers the crowd loved. The fast pace continued with In the Night Time and slowed ever so slightly with I Drink Alone.
Sufficiently warmed up, Thorogood and his band had the crowd singing at the top of their lungs to One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer. The crowd cheered mid -song when he said "I'm so full of shit even I don't believe it." I would be remiss if I didn't mention the visuals that accompanied all of Thorogood's songs. The big screens behind him were filled with flames, mini-movies and for this particular song; photos of bourbon, scotch and beer were flashed in time with lyrics.
He and his band, Jeff Simon on drums, Billy Blough on bass, Jim Suhler on rhythm guitar and Buddy Leach on sax, took a slight break as Thorogood grabbed a cup and toasted the audience saying, "I got the only job where I can drink on the job."
Thorogood then told the crowd, "I normally dedicate this next song to all the ladies in the house, but not tonight." Then he added, I could dedicate it to all the girls out there, but I won't. I am dedicating this song to all the women in the house." Then he broke into a smokin' hot rendition of Seventh Son.
At this point the crowd had more than got their money's worth but Thorogood was just warming up. This man knows how to give his all. Sweat dripping down his face, he took a moment to comb his hair and returned center stage where someone yelled out a request. He replied, "It took me 35 years to get up here and I'm going to enjoy every second of it." Then he rocked even harder with three back -to -back hits, Get a Haircut, Bad to the Bone and Move it on Over. After 80 minutes of solid playing, Thorogood wiggled his rather limber hips up to the mic, took a bow and left the stage.
He and the band were only gone for a matter of minutes before he returned and rocked the crowd a little more. He paused after his first encore, looked around at the crowd before him, teased them with more provocative hip movements and announced, "Foreplay is over; it's time to get down to business!"
Thorogood's guitar playing was nothing short of phenomenal as he performed You Talk to Much. Just when everyone thought the party was over he smiled, paused for a moment, and launched into Born to be Bad.
And then it was over. At one point during the concert Thorogood asked the audience "So what does it feel like to be 17 again?!" To that I reply, pretty damn good George, pretty damn good.
Kirstin Wakal Photographer