Last night I got a call from a friend who knew I liked Johnny Winter.
He asked If I wanted to go see Johnny Winter for FREE. VIP too. A no brainer. Little did he know, I had already purchased tickets for the Montreal show on Good Friday. This was a perfect way to launch the long weekend.
The opener was those old Toronto bar dogs. Jack DeKiaser, Danny Marks (Edwin Bear) and Paul James. All sharing the duties together on stage. (Can I call them the Toronto Bar Scene All-stars maybe?) I must have seen these dudes individually, at least 10 times each, since my college days in the 1980's, but never at the same time on stage. I must say, I really enjoyed the concept too. Each one of them brought their unparalleled style to the table. And lets' face it. They've seen more smoky bar carpets, than a hooker at the Brass Rail. So their tried and true'd experience, was very entertaining.
I've seen Johnny Winter so many times now too. I cant count them anymore. The first time was at Canada Jam in 1978 or 1979...Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Nazareth, Winter The Ramones, Moxy and Goddo (I think). As a 15 years old snot nosed punk, he blew me away. I can still see him sitting on that bar stool wearing his black leather cap in the afternoon 420 sun. I've been a fan ever since. He's played with everyone, including making a few legendary records with another one of my all time favorite artists - the late great Muddy Waters.
But the man is getting REALLY old now ...He walks humped over, and he looks really frail. Not the Johnny from back in the day. His licks are still great, but they lack that younger fire he once had. But don't kid your self. He can play the electric blues like no other. He deserves a floodlight in GUITAR HERO. This could bring him some well earned "notoriety" to those young wacky kids of today.
But watching JW, is somewhat like watching John Lee Hooker in his last 10 years of his life. Triple A Class. A vintage wine that's been cellaring for decades. With all his years of rock n roll wisdom, he brings a faculty of blues art, that explodes on your existence. His version of HWY 61 is not to be missed. A slide guitar masterpiece!
The road has not been good to JW. And as any fan already knows, JW lives and breaths the road. So today I will head down that same highway, and watch the living legend for the very last time in Montreal. My personal toast to a living legend. It looks to be a perfect day to say good bye. A "cheers" for all the good times - on GOOD FRIDAY!
Thanks Johnny for a great show...every one of them!
Posted by wino at Thursday, April 09, 2009