George Thorogood may drink alone but he certainly doesn’t put on a show alone.
On Thursday night, George was in the Province of Quebec for the second time this summer. In July, he received the B.B. King Award as part of the lineup of The Montreal International Jazz Festival. This time– Trois Rivieres en Blues were the hosts and the difference between the two performances was apparent.
George Thorogood and his band; The Destroyers – are fit more for an outdoor venue then the safe confines of Place des Arts. No disrespect to George or the band yet face it, Rock n Roll is dangerous and a stadium / amphitheater breeds danger.
There is something in the air when that air is at the mercy of Mother Nature. At any given moment the wind could change and the rain could enter a roofed venue sideways. Music is the same thing when it is played live properly.
In Montreal – the show was safe. George et al played that way. Comfy, cozy and familiar. Way too familiar for a ‘Rock Party’. Having sex evolved into making love. Condoms replaced drunken tomfoolery. Condoms replaced the very essence of Rock n Roll.
In Trois Rivieres – every song ran with scissors. Every note in ‘Move It On Over’ and ‘Bad to the Bone’ teetered on the same sloppiness which The Rolling Stones own. Swaggering attitude and swaggering chords complimented Thorogood’s organized chaos.
The immense catalog of Bluesy riffs-turned-Rock were charged with Thorogood energy. A lightning bolt which can only be charged by a live audience. Unlike Place des Arts where the suits outnumbered the fans – the Trois Rivieres audience had a Jack Sparrow in every fifth seat. Thorogood ( the ultimate pirate) grabbed that vibe and slowly became younger as the night progressed. Raping and pillaging his guitar; Thorogood left no prisoners or witnesses as his black flag flew above the corporate mutineers.
One Bourbon (as usual) the defining moment. John Lee Hooker’s original masterpiece was performed at a bar. George – the drunken, dejected and unwanted character looking for rent. Searching for booze. Desperate for love.
A little tea and sympathy … ?
Throughout the night the chords were crisp. The three chords acute. The drummer dynamite. It was about the singer not the song as only George could conduct such an orchestra. Command attention and attend the commands from the Blues-gone-by.
The Destroyers and Thorogood. Links to the past along with the Stones, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal and very few others. Survivors of the crossroads deal and makers of their own style within a Diddley beat.
Drinking alone with nobody else …