Courtesy - Saratogian.com
By: Don Wilcock
George Thorogood never thought he’d still be singing “Bad to The Bone” 32 years after he first recorded it and 41 years after he sat slack-jawed watching Blues Hall of Fame band leader Eddie Shaw squire a dying blues legend Howlin’ Wolf to clubs around the country.
About halfway through a grueling 40th-anniversary tour, boogey boy Thorogood brings his Delaware Destroyers band to Empire State Plaza at 5 p.m. Wednesday for a free performance that promises to force younger hard rock bands to “Move It On Over” so he can get Capitaland “Reelin’ and Rockin’.”
Ten years ago, Thorogood told me he couldn’t wait to become a senior citizen so he could engage in behavior that would allow him to get away with shenanigans that would get a younger million-selling rock star busted. Now, at 64, he finds that being an AARP card-carrier doesn’t have the advertised advantages, at least for rock and rollers.
“They keep raising the bar all the time. Nobody gets old anymore, thanks to Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler, who are a little older than me,” he said. “They keep playing, out there rockin’, and everybody turns around and says, ‘Hey, man! Let’s rock.’ I say, ‘What are you trying to do to us?’”
At 72, McCartney had to cancel a series of concerts because of a viral infection. In fact, Paul’s first return to the stage since his illness will be his July 5 show at the Albany Times Union Center.
Thorogood’s show is just one of a series of great free events happening at Empire State Plaza this summer. Price Chopper’s annual 4th of July Celebration headlines Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals. Last year, Steve Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s band got Cavalieri back together after 40 years with the band that hit in the ’60s with “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’” and “Lonely Too Long.” Their Once Upon A Dream tour played the Palace in December and was one of the best reunion concerts of the last decade.
GE’s Kids Day on Sunday, July 13, promises a sing-along adventure with Mike The Knight based on the popular Nickelodeon TV series about a 9-year-old who wants to be a knight like his father, the king who explores many lands.
African American Family Day on Saturday, Aug. 2, headlines Jeffrey Osborne, the platinum-selling R&B singer who first hit in 1982 with “I Really Don’t Need No Light.” He sang his hit “On The Wings of Love” on the 2010 season finale of TV’s popular show “The Bachelor” as bachelor Jake Pavelka danced with his newly announced fiancée, Vienna Girardi.
The New York State Food festival on Wednesday, Aug. 13, features Eddie Money, who has wowed large crowds in Troy with live performances of his hits “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Baby Hold On,” “Think I’m In Love,” and Walk on Water.” “Take Me Home Tonight” was a 1986 hit duet with Ronnie Spector of The Ronettes. He had a strong presence in the early years of MTV and last charted in 1992 with “I’ll Get By.”
The Hispanic Heritage Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 13, headlines Jose Alberto “El Canario.”
Thorogood’s Wednesday set will feature his many hits, even though his sound is based on the hard boogey beat of blues veterans like Elmore James and recordings with Buddy Guy and Charlie Musselwhite.
“After ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer’ hit FM radio and then we went to MTV, we got played on rock classic radio,” Thorogood explained. “We don’t get played on blues stations. We’ve been rock classic since 1990. I just heard ‘Two on Tuesday’ here in L.A. They played ‘Bad to the Bone’ and ‘I Drink Alone.’ Then they played the Stones, and then they played Fleetwood Mac. What does that tell ya?”
One thing is for sure. His music never gets old.
“I knew I was going to be doing it for a while,” he said.
Thorogood has toured with the same drummer Jeff Simon for his entire career and has had the much underrated Texas tornado Jim Suhler on guitar since 1999.
“When I was 16 years old, I never had a doubt about (what I would do.) Forty years later, I don’t know ’cause I didn’t know if I was going to live 40 years later. Nobody does. I could get hit by a truck or catch a disease. Anything could happen,” Thorogood said.
So does he take good care of himself?
“I even wear my safety belt at the drive-in movie,” he said.
If you go
WHAT: George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers
WHEN: 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Empire State Plaza in Albany
Callout: Nobody gets old anymore thanks to Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, and Steven Tyler who are a little older than me.”