I fulfilled a bucket list item last week by seeing Mike Portnoy drum with The Winery Dogs at Tupelo Music Hall. Lead singer and guitarist Richie Kotzan and bassist Billy Sheehan completed the band, and they were awesome.
Each band member had an opportunity to show their proficiency on their instrument during solos. Kotzen performed a solo on keyboards then was rejoined by Portnoy and Sheehan hitting several of their songs including Elevate, Damaged, Captain Love, Devil You Know and I’m No Angel.
Although the drum kit Portnoy is using for this tour is smaller than what we are used to seeing him use, his style still comes through. The smooth motion and incredibly fast pedal action on the bass drum definitely met and then exceeded my expectations. Kotzen and Sheehan performed equally well but I have to admit that on this one I was a little biased towards the drums.
Kotzen handled all the lead vocals with both Sheehan and Portnoy providing the backup vocals. The three pieces create a great balanced sound as many of the power trios of the past with each band member making a critical contribution to the whole. This was the second of two consecutive nights at Tupelo for The Winery Dogs on this tour and due to their popularity the usual tables were replaced by theater seating to accommodate the large crowd.
This was the start of the current tour so there may be other opportunities to see them for yourselves and if not check out their latest album.