Sunday, February 6, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Driving up north on 1A brings back a vague memory of the Wonderland Ballroom.  In balmier weather, this could have been a nice drive were it not for the fact that we were over an hour late to see the “Legends of Rock &  Blues” concert in historic Lynn, MA.  Driving through this working class industrial town at night, I watched the white clouds of exhaust and who knows what else as it billowed out of the chimneys of the General Electric factory into the black sky.  This is the source of global warming, I thought, and why I have four feet of snow on my roof and my kitchen ceiling looks like a sieve. Thinking that I had hoped tonight would be a departure from the woes of winter, I focused back on the Lynn Auditorium, wondering what that might be like, hoping for the best.

We arrived in the middle of James Montgomery warming up his version of “You Gotta Help Me Baby” and my spirits soared.  Although I am not a big fan, he was definitely “on his game” tonight.  The acoustics and the lighting in the room were fantastic and the dramatically oversized, wood-carved stage was a perfect setting for this blues harp player and the other luminaries.  Montgomery had the benefit of a very talented lead guitar player as well as support from Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, local rocker Johnny A, and a multitude of other gifted musicians.

Then came Rick Derringer.  Although I have heard of him— “Hang on Sloopy” and “Frankenstein,” this was my first time hearing him play live.  In contrast to the previous act, Derringer just had a bass player and drummer to accompany him.  But somehow, that was enough.  It was oddly entertaining to see Derringer, who hardly moved anything but his nimble fingers over his guitar, contrasted with the theatrics of the bass player, Charlie Torres, who pranced about the stage during the performance.

Lastly, came Edgar Winter, a strikingly tall image, dressed in black from head to toe, accentuating the white glow of his pale face and white flowing hair.  No warm-up needed, this rock ‘ n’ roll/blues icon starting out “on fire” along with yet another core of talented musicians.  The lead guitar-player, Doug Rappaport, seemed to complete sentences that Winter started—literally.  Winter still has his rock ‘n’ roll chops and proceeded to display his talents not just with his scatting vocals but his significant skill on sax, keyboard and drums.  I snapped a great shot of him with his signature playing of a keyboard strapped around his neck—pretty impressive considering its size and I’m guessing it’s weight but he wields it like a toy. 
My favorite part was his duets with each of the musicians, initiating a vocal “conversation” that each of the musicians responded to with their respective instruments, showcasing the talents of all. 

Although advertised as a rock and blues concert, this event was much more of a rocker event although some blues favorites were included like “Tobacco Road” and “You Gotta Help Me Baby.”  All in all, a great event, and proof that New Englanders know how to have fun, especially in the midst of Winter.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Janet,

    I'm surprised you never saw Rick Derringer before. He's lived in southern CT since his days with Johnny Winter in the 70s and seemed to be playing music clubs in New England non-stop throughout the 70s and early 80s. It's sort of funny how someone who is so good can become "out of fashion" and forgotten like he has been.