Review by Dale Jr
Photos by Michelle Cucchiaro
Show Photos HERE
It was a late August Saturday and the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom was packed with folks that were looking to celebrate their Labor Day Weekends in style, and that they did with an amazing performance by The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. KWS and the band were out to promote their new album, Goin’ Home; an album that was recorded in just 11 days in Kenny’s home town of Shreveport, Louisiana, where all the tracks are covers of great blues tracks done by blues legends. The audience would be treated to such songs throughout the show.
It always helps to have an amazing band back up an amazing guitar player, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd has just that. On lead vocals and rhythm guitar was the great Noah Hunt. Hunt is an incomparable showman on stage with absolutely great singing ability. Shepherd and Hunt have been together for a long time and they go together like peanut butter and jelly; you could have them separate, but it just wouldn’t feel right. On drums is one half of Double Trouble, Chris “Whipper” Layton. There is no one better to play the kind of music that the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band plays than Layton, as the late Stevie Ray Vaughn is a huge influence to Shepherd and Layton was there with SRV making that amazingly wonderful music. On bass was a man that was a member with The Firm with Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers, and if you play with those guys, you know that you can really play, and that man was Tony Franklin. Lastly, but certainly not least was the man on keys, Riley Osbourn. Osbourn is a highly sought after studio musician, and it would be easy to see why over the course of the evening.
Shepherd and the band would come out and not stop rocking all night, but the party opened with a track off their last album, “Never Lookin’ Back”, which was followed up by the KWS concert staples, “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway” and a cover of a Bob Dylan song, “Everything Is Broken.”
Up next was a performance that was really cool and is a track on the new album. It was a song that drummer Chris Layton knew very well, and that was the old Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble classic “The House Is Rockin’”. What made it so cool was that Layton was there to play the track that had been made famous by he and SRV, but we got to hear Shepherd himself sing the cover; which is something that he does quite a bit of on the new album.
Throughout the rest of the evening, the crowd was treated to some amazing tracks, including fantastic covers of Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” and B.B. King’s “You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now” along with some KWS originals.
They show closed with a howitzer of an encore with the band’s biggest hit “Blue On Black”, followed by a cover of Slim Harpo’s “I’m A King Bee”. To close the show, Kenny busted out a burst Strat with the neck upside down and with roses on it. There was only one song left to play and that was a tribute to Jimi with “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. This is a song the band does incredibly well and was a fitting way to a memorable show.
The crowd roared with approval throughout the show. There was one point during the show when the crowd got up to give a standing ovation and the asses never found the seats afterwards. Whenever The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band comes to town, and you love your blues rocking, make sure you go to check them out because you won’t be disappointed and it’ll be worth every penny.