Dixie Dregs – Dawn of the Dregs Tour 2018 – Ridgefield Playhouse – March 14, 2018

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.

 

 

http://dixiedregs.com

Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris
Setlist
Set1:
Divided We Stand
Free Fall
Holiday
Assembly Line
Twiggs Approved
Take It Off the Top
What If
Country House Shuffle
Moe Down
Odyssey
Set 2:
Violin Solo (Allen Sloan)
Northern Lights
Go for Baroque
Day 444
Refried Funky Chicken
Leprechaun Promenade
Wages of Weirdness
The Bash
Cruise Control
Encore:
Bloodsucking Leeches

The Dixie Dregs coming to Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT

Critically acclaimed and six-time GRAMMY®-Award nominated musical virtuoso’s, THE DIXIE DREGS (a.k.a The Dregs), are gearing up for a national U.S. tour starting February 28. The performances will mark the first time in 40 years the original band–Steve Morse (guitar), Andy West (bass), Allen Sloan (violin), Steve Davidowski (keyboards) and Rod Morgenstein (drums)–will share the stage. Tickets are on sale now.

The “DAWN OF THE DREGS” 25-date tour–with additional dates to be announced soon–will take the band across the country starting on February 28 in Clearwater, FL and make stops in Atlanta, Charleston, Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boulder and Phoenix, among many others,before wrapping April 25 in Dallas, TX. For more information about the “DAWN OF THE DREGS” tour and to purchase tickets, visit: http://dixiedregs.com/.

“This tour is the result of the overwhelming requests we’ve received from a loyal audience of die hard Dregheads, and new fans who have never seen us perform live, but discovered the band for the first time through Steve’s membership in Deep Purple, or Rod as the drummer for Winger,” said Dreg’s bassist, Andy West. “We can’t wait to play for them all,” adds West.

For guitar aficionados, Steve Morse needs no introduction, and his place in the pantheon of guitar greats is certain. But in fact, his career started with the DIXIE DREGS. The band traces its true beginnings to the band Dixie Grit, which started in a Georgia high school with Steve on guitar and Andy West on bass. Dixie Grit morphed into the DIXIE DREGS at the University of Miami School of Music, where Allen Sloan (violin) and Rod Morgenstein (drums) joined up with Steve and Andy, who were the “dregs” of Dixie Grit.

The members of the DIXIE DREGS remained committed to attending the University of Miami School of Music, which hosted a lively and talented musical community during their tenure, including future greats Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius, T Lavitz, and Bruce Hornsby, among many others. In 1975, the group’s demo album, The Great Spectacular, was recorded at the University of Miami and then re-released on CD in 1997.

After graduation, the band moved back to Augusta where Steve Davidowski (keyboards) completed the band. The band paid its dues and honed its skills playing in bars and venues throughout the South in the mid-70’s. They established themselves in the firmament of American instrumental music, seamlessly fusing rock with progressive and jazz elements to create a uniquely instrumental-driven style that has stood the test of time.

Based on a short demo and a tip from former Allman Brothers keyboardist Chuck Leavell along with legendary Allman/Dregs tour manager Twiggs Lyndon, Capricorn Records signed the DIXIE DREGS to record Free Fall (1977). The success and critical acclaim of Free Fall announced the DIXIE DREGS to the world, and after its release, they would become a cult-favorite band that would have a lasting influence on much of modern rock.
Keep your eyes on www.dixiedregs.com and www.facebook.com/TheDixieDregs for all the news.

Jim Messina – Infinity Music Hall Hartford, CT – February 24, 2018

It was a fantastic evening at the Infinity Music Hall with a spot on performance by the legendary Jim Messina and his band. Messina was joined by Gary Oleyar – fiddle and guitar, Craig Thomas – saxophone, woodwinds and percussion, Dave Beyer – drums and Michael Brady on bass. Together they gave the audience a truly memorable performance.
I think Jim Messina has never received the recognition from the public nor his peers that he deserves for his contributions to the music many of us heard in the 1960’s and 70’s and continue to hear now well into the 21st century. Messina was a member of Buffalo Springfield. A founding member of Poco and Loggins and Messina. All three of these bands are now legendary in the music industry.
Prior to becoming a member of Buffalo Springfield Messina was already an accomplished guitarist and producer. He began engineering while still in high school under the tutelage of guitar greats like Foy Willing of the Riders of the Purple Sage and other western music greats. He was already building a career in record engineering before he was approached to join Buffalo Springfield at the request of the group and  Atlantic Records founder and president Ahmet Ertegun. Messina became a bass player for the band replacing Bruce Palmer who was leaving. He played and toured with the Buffalo Springfield up until the completion and release of their album Last Time Around.
Messina and Richie Furay joined together in 1968 as founding members of Poco, which was a turning point band in music of the era joining country and rock together is what was forever after called country-rock. Messina left Poco and went his own way after tiring of the touring schedule and his desire to go back into producing.
In 1970 Loggins and Messina was formed. With Messina’s background even Kenny Loggins said right from the beginning, Jimmy was the producer. Loggins was a songwriter and had never made a record, put a band together or many of the things that bring a successful band to fruition. So Jim was the leader. Their first album was released in 1971 and together the duo made a total of 12 albums including live and compilation albums.
After parting ways with Kenny Loggins, Messina recorded four solo albums: 1979’s album Oasis; 1981’s eponymous Messina featuring guest performances by Jeff Pocaro, Joe Pocaro and Victor Feldman; 1983’s One More Mile; and 1996’s re-imagined retrospective of concert favorites Watching The River Run Revisited.
The concert at the Infinity was a mix of songs from each band Messina has been in and included a walk on by Rusty Young from Poco to play slide guitar on “Listen to a Country Song.”
There was a medley of Loggins and Messina songs “Traveling Blues,” which he said held special meaning now that he has children, “House on Pooh Corner” and “Thinking of You.”
They performed “Be Free.” Messina on mandolin with Oleyar on fiddle, and Thomas on flute had the audience stomping and clapping. A song that cries to free your soul. Always one of my favorite Loggins and Messina songs it was a pleasure to hear it done so well. Messina’s voice is still strong and he hits every note perfectly. His playing is just as precise and snappy as ever.
The encore was two well known favorites “You Need a Man” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”
Messina’s most recent album release, Jim Messina “In The Groove” with special guest Rusty Young, was recorded live in concert at The Clark Center and The Lobero Theater in Santa Barbara. It has been released both on a 12” Vinyl LP, as well as on an 8 gig “Flash Drive” the size of a credit card and is entitled Jim Messina “Access All’ Music/Video/Data, and can be used for future downloads and discounts. Because the vinyl LP can only hold 71 minutes of recorded music, it only contains the concert set and not the encore. However, since the “Flash Drive” is 8 gigs, it holds the entire 101-minute concert and encore. In addition, the Flash Drive contains a 27-minute video Encore (You Need a Man and Your Mama Don’t Dance”), the album’s artwork, the original set list (that was edited down) and the song lyrics.
I sat and had a talk with him after the concert. He is a kind, gentle and soft spoken man. You could easily pass hours just listening to the stories of his life. Many of his fellow musicians through the years had gotten caught up in their careers, drugs or alcohol and never got to fully enjoy the fame they worked so hard for.
Married with a family Messina has a firm belief that there is more to life than just his music. That life is to be lived fully and happily. He spends his off time on his ranch with his donkeys, ducks, dogs and a cat. He surrounds himself with friends from all walks of life. Not isolating himself to just the world of musicians. He tours but does it at his own pace. A set of 4 shows over a week or two in a certain geographical location and then back home to his family.
For those of you sailors who wonder if he still sails. He used to have larger boats but these days he would prefer to teach his daughter to sail on a lake or somewhere more forgiving than the ocean. He wants her to have the experiences of sailing just on a smaller scale. He said cruising the San Juan islands in Washington state would be nice because the water is still clean, the air is clear and the scenery is beautiful.
At the age of 70, although you would not think he was that age, there are no plans of slowing down. Being raised in Texas he is thinking he would like to go back to his roots. The next adventure they are considering is moving the family and animals to Texas for a new life there. The plan includes doing 4 performance tours at upscale roadhouses in various Texas locations.
I have no doubt this is what will happen if he wants it. He knew at a very early age he wanted a career in music. He stated he’s had guardians and maybe some guardian angels from the start that helped him launch his career in the music industry. From the short time I spent with Messina it appears he has no problem fulfilling any dream he sets his mind to.
Don’t miss the chance to see this music legend perform. Jim Messina and the band are masters at their craft. Each and every band member exceeded my expectations.
http://www.jimmessina.com
Setlist:
Mojito Moon
Traveling Blues
Medley:
Watching the River Run
House on Pooh Corner
Thinking of You
Danny’s Son
Whispering Waters
Kind Woman
You Better Think Twice
Listen to a Country Song – Holiday Hotel
Be Free
Angry Eyes
Encore
You Need a Man
Your Mama Don’t Dance
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

 

 

Joe Satriani’s G3 Tour

Joe Satriani’s G3 Tour

Oakdale Theatre – Wallingford,CT
Feb. 8, 2018

Joe Satriani – John Petrucci – Phil Collen

 

Guitarist Joe Satriani began the G3 tours over twenty years ago and since its inception the legendary guitar player has invited two other highly regarded rock guitarists to play each tour with him. The artists each have their own set to showcase their solo talents before coming together at the end of the concert to jam for a few songs. This entire style of show works really well. To keep the tours fresh and the audiences wondering the lineup of artists changes each tour. This year’s lineup includes G3 veteran John Petrucci of Dream Theater and first-timer Phil Collen of Def Leppard.
First up was Phil Collen’s band Delta Deep. They played a great set of blues-rock songs. Debbi Blackwell-Cook, Collen’s bandmate and blues singer gave a wonderful range pushing performance belting out the blues. At one point her and Collen battled voice and guitar pitting her multi range voice against his guitar from the deepest baritone to high soprano. Collen’s guitar and her voice add such a soulful sound to the music.
Joining Collen and Blackwell-Cook was Grammy Award winner Forrest Robinson on drums and Robert DeLeo on bass. Their set included Delta Deep’s “Mistreated” and “Down in the Delta.” These cuts off the newly released “East Coast Live” album were rolled out with a great reception by the audience. Delta Deep and their blues sound was a hit with the crowd.
Setlist:
Quadrant 4 (Billy Cobham cover)
Yo 2
Joe
Bless These Blues
Burnt Sally
Mistreated
Down in the Delta
John Petrucci’s set began with the lights dimmed to a deep dark blue and the bass notes started a somber reverberation through the theater. The founding member of the progressive metal band Dream Theater performed “Wrath of the Amazons” and “Jaws of Life.” Both songs were in the heavy metal genre he is best known for. He laughed after those songs and said “Someone has to bring the heavy metal.”
Following those songs Petrucci who was backed by Dave LaRue on bass and Mike Mangini on drums lightened the mood by launching into “The Happy Song.” That was followed by “Glasgow Kiss” also a lighter tune from his Suspended Animation album Then it was back on to his heavier music metal riffs that he is best known for. His playing was spot on and during “Damage Control” he showed his expert alternate picking technique that is difficult to master but Petrucci makes look effortless.
Set List:
Wrath of the Amazons
Jaws of Life
The Happy Song
Damage Control
Glassy-Eyed Zombies
Glasgow Kiss

Joe Satriani finished out the trio taking the stage with his chrome guitar. Starting off the set with energy he played with passion and excitement moving from side to side of the stage. He even crouched down at one point and played with his teeth. His popular songs “Satch Boogie,” “Always With Me, Always With You,” were done perfectly and the master at solos made his guitar scream and moan.
While “Surfing With the Alien,” was played a screen projected behind the band animations of the Silver Surfer. Satriani’s excitement, animation and endless energy were infectious throughout his performance. He had the crowd on their feet clapping and shouting.
I particularly liked “Cherry Blossoms,” off his newly released 16th album “What Happens Next.” This was followed by “Thunder High on the Mountain.” He then rolled right into “Super Funky Badass” also from “What Happens Next.” If Satraini is growing older he is hiding it well because he looked like a 20 something rocker with his full range of facial expressions as he coaxed every whine and scream out of his guitar. It’s like his guitar is just an extension of his arms and part of his being.
Satriani is an amazing guitarist and his set flew by in a flurry of wailing guitars and drums leaving the audience wanting more. His band with Mike Keneally on keyboards/guitar, Bryan Beller on bass and Joe Travers on drums was a fantastic accompaniment to Satraini. At one point the drummer Joe Travers did an awesome solo that had the crowd cheering and stomping for more. A grand performance by the legend Satriani and his band.
Setlist
Energy
Catbot
Satch Boogie
Cherry Blossoms
Thunder High on the Mountain
Super Funky Badass
Cataclysmic
Headrush
Circles
Always With Me, Always With You
Drum Solo
Summer Song

G3 Jam
After Satriani’s band concluded their set Petrucci, Collen and Blackwell-Cook joined him on the stage and jammed together. The three played “Highway Star” by Deep Purple, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Going Down” by The Alabama State Troupers.
Highway Star (Deep Purple song)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder cover)
Going Down (The Alabama State Troupers cover)
The evening was great and the crowd enthusiastic and rose for ovations numerous times during the show in appreciation. I haven’t seen a G3 tour before and the unique presentation was refreshing. I would definitely see a G3 show again. Joe Satriani and his G3 tours is something any guitar enthusiasts or fan of great music should see. The G3 2018 tour will continue this year in both the USA and Europe though June. If you get the chance don’t miss it.
More information on the G3 Tour and each individual artist:
http://www.satriani.com/G3
http://www.satriani.com
http://www.philcollenpc1.com
http://www.deltadeep.net
http://johnpetrucci.com
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

George Thorogood and The Destroyers

Garde Arts Center
New London,CT
Mar.7,2015
March 7, 2015
For some George Thorogood at the Garde Arts Center was their first concert, for some it was one of many of seeing the band. After 40 years of “Bad to the Bone” George Thorogood and his band of Destroyers still rocked the house with a good solid show of pure raw energy last night in New London, Connecticut. The Danielle Nicole Band warmed up the crowd with her bass guitar and some cuts from her new upcoming EP, including “Starvin’ for Love.” The audience was eager to be bad as well. There was an eclectic mix of long hair 20 somethings and gray hair sixty somethings, some still sporting their long hair. The outcome of that mix was a pumped up crowd full of energy. Everyone ready to rock, stomp, clap and shout out the words to the well known tunes set in stone for the ages from the 80’s radio play. Most of his songs are still played daily on stations across the country so his following has done nothing but grow over the years. His ageless sound still as relevant now as it was back in the day. After all this time Thorogood still retains the bad boy vibe he has carried all these years and didn’t come up short in this performance. The band had a good time and fed off the energy of the crowd. The Garde Theater is a relatively small house and intimate enough for a lot of interaction with the audience. Thorogood played to them all from the front row to the back of balcony.
Thorogood played all of his tried and true hits in the set to satisfy an audience primed up for “badness”and some good down home boogie-blues. They made sure to play Rock Party, Who Do You Love and The Fixer. The crowd helped make sure he was not drinking alone and all by himself as cups were raised to spur him on to belt out tune after tune. I Drink Alone, Move It on Over , One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, followed by Get a Haircut and of course Bad to the Bone.
The Destroyers were excellent and Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar) and Buddy Leach (saxophone) and the ever great performer George Thorogood proved that they are indeed Badder Than Ever. George Thorogood and the Destroyers and the Garde Arts Center were a perfect fit. I will go back anytime I get the chance too when he brings the bbbbbaaad band back to town.
Review by Donna Erichsen
Photos by George Bekris