Most of us have heard some good ole Delta Blues by masters such as Robert Johnson or Robert Lockwood, Jr.; maybe your introduction to the genre came way of some Chicago Blues by Buddy Guy or BB King.
But geographically-speaking, whoulda thunk some damn fine blues could come from…Delaware?
George Thorogood and the Destroyers, a Delaware-founded outfit, are known for their hardscrabble bar rock. But, at heart, they’re students of the Blues, and gave the attendees at last night’s Hard Rock Rocksino concert a dissertation on the Blues, among some of his staples and standards.
Thorogood, whose tunes have peppered commercials and movies for the last thirty-five years or so, would look just as comfortable on a tiny stage in a small bar outside of most big American cities as he did on the large stage at the Hard Rock Live venue. His lighting package, one of the best in recent memory, was the only indication that this was a high-dollar production. And I mean that in a good way. Their presence has been honed by playing all over the world but he’s got that look and swagger that would just as easily fit into a small bar with an old pool table pressed up next to the stage. His five-piece ensemble, drums, bass guitar, rhythm and lead, were accompanied by a sax player. This is a tight little outfit; most of the band has been with Thorogood for decades; these guys love to play and it shows.
Most artists write about love. A lack of it. Too much of it. How life sucks because of it. Not Thorogood. The only time he mentioned “love” last night was when he reminisced about Budweiser. He, apparently, has a deep affinity for the King of Beers.
His music exemplifies a side of Bluesy-Rock that has been overlooked and sometimes maligned. There’s a sense of fun and a wink and nod that Thorogood knows exactly what his audiences need: A bourbon, a scotch and a beer. And, of course, that’s a good source of the band’s popularity. This is fun music, blue-collar ditties written and sung for those types that want to forget about the women that left them. It’s the blues all right, but lamenting the lack of a drink rather than the reason that you need that drink.
The ninety-minute show started a few minutes late but when the band took the stage the crowd came to its feet. Thorogood looked around, saw the crowd and exclaimed with a devilish smile, “At a Georgie show, when it gets up it stays up all night!”
And that it did. The 1400 or so fans in the venue sang along and danced to the blue collar rock made famous by the Delaware Destroyers. The band played all of their hits, including “Who Do You Love?,” “I Drink Alone,” and “House Rent Blues.” Before tearing into that one, he asked the anticipatory crowd “Maybe you’ve heard this story before?” To which they wailed in approval.
Perennial fave “Get a Haircut” brought up the rear of the setlist and his best-known song “Bad to the Bone” closed out the show. The band came back to the stage after a thunderous applause to encore with “Madison Blues.”