The Ridgefield Playhouse hosted the Progressive jazz/rock fusion band Dixie Dregs for a tour many thought would never happen. The Dregs original members have reunited this year to the delight of many long time hard core fans. The Dixie Dregs original members are Steve Morse on lead guitar, Andy West on bass, Allen Sloan on violin, Steve Davidowski on keyboards and Rod Morgenstein rounding out the band on drums. This is the 45th anniversary reunion tour and though through the years other members have come and gone it was fantastic that the five members who started the band were able to come together for this tour.
The crowd enthusiastically awaited the bands arrival onstage. The energy in the air was palpable. Many in the lobby and theater were reminiscing about when they saw the Dregs the first time or the last time they saw them. One thing was clear though that this reunion of the original Dregs was an eagerly anticipated event. It was obvious that throughout the years the band has garnered a mass of loyal fans referred to as “Dregheads.”
Getting these original members of the Dixie Dregs together after four decades was something most didn’t expect. Even though in recent years it seems many bands of the 70’s era are regrouping for one last tour and run at pleasing long time fans, each of the members of Dixie Dregs have gone on to live their separate lives and some even had other polar opposite careers. Allen Sloan is a physician and Andy West a video game designer. Rod Morgenstein went on to add his percussion talents to many bands including Winger. Steve Morse is probably the most active in the music world over these previous decades as he has been playing as lead guitarist for Deep Purple while also performing with Flying Colors and The Steve Morse Band.
They perform jazz, rock and bluegrass with a classical overtone to their music. What may be called progressive country rock with a hint of jazz fusion. Their tempo and rhythm change up in one song keeping your ears entertained with the changing sound and tones and variations in the beat. With that being said it has always been hard to categorize the Dixie Dregs into one genre.
The night was a mix of the broad range of cuts from various albums in the bands history. The majority of the selections were from the Freefall album. They also performed “Take If Off The Top” and “Day 444” off the What If album. It was as if they had been playing for all these years together and each song was performed flawlessly.
The second set included “Cruise Control,” one of the better known Dixie Dreg songs. The set crossed over from the heavier rock influenced to a more classical sound. This set showed the range of the band and their ability to fuse different genres into a consistently enjoyable set that satisfied the audience and left them wanting more. The band returned to the stage for the encore with “Bloodsucking Leaches.”
It was indeed a rare chance to see a classic lineup play so well and enjoy their time onstage together again. They had and continue to have a unique sound. With many bands saying they’re performing farewell tours in the last few years, it’s hard to know if you’ll ever see this combination together again. If you do get the chance to catch the Dixie Dregs on this tour do try get out and see them. You won’t be disappointed and this chance may not come again.