George Thorogood and the Destroyers bring boisterous blues to Canalside
Fundamental things about George Thorogood, blues-rock showman: He prances about the stage copying cocky Jagger moves, he flirts relentlessly with ladies closest to the stage, and he knows how to pace a proper boisterous set. He also begins shows with the incantation “And away we go!”
Thorogood and his band The Destroyers, hard workers for the past four decades, played a rollicking Friday gig at Canalside, a very balmy and festive night. The crowd, first clinging to shady patches for a heat reprieve, continued to fill up the venue as the headliner was 30 minutes in, evidence perhaps that Buffalo’s blues crowd is accustomed to later club shows.
In his customary bandanna and sunglasses, Thorogood greeted the cheering crowd with “Born to be Bad,” from the 1980s – and a burst of spins, grins and finger-pointing. And then it was on to a rockabilly vibe with “Rock Party” before he and the incredible Destroyers slid into a slow, sexy rendition of 1950s Bo Diddley anthem (that he’s made one of his own) “Who Do You Love?” as projections of flames on screens behind each of the four band members licked away.
Thorogood's got no time to reflect on 40 years
"I'm under orders from the government not to divulge my location," George Thorogood deadpans when asked where he's calling from in a phone interview earlier this week.
The 64-year-old Delaware native is in his 40th anniversary year of recording, playing the blues onstage and even entertaining reporters.
As the headliner for this year's Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in downtown Davenport late on the Fourth of July, he talked about his influences and history.
You're here for a blues festival. Do you get to play blues festivals very often?
A few, but not lately. We've played a couple of blues festivals in Canada, California, various places. Europe, Finland. We've done jazz festivals.
I wanna play a rock festival. That's one thing I don't have the chance to do. I don't play jazz, I don't play blues. I don't get it.
But obviously the blues has had a lot of influence on you.
Pretty much anybody who's recorded before 1975, the blues must have touched them in one way or another. We started out as a blues band because there was no rock 'n' roll. Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry started the whole thing, and that's what we listened to.
Getting started with a little help from George Thorogood
Thorogood introductions started early in life
Don’t you just love a fresh start?
I do. Which is why I’m happy to be coming to you from a different section of the paper this week.
If you hate my columns, please take this opportunity to make a mental note — heck, even write it down somewhere if that’ll help — that I’ve switched up beats a little bit.
Tanner Kent, our former Currents and Mankato Magazine editor who did an absolutely fabulous job on the beat and will be sorely missed, has moved on. I have taken his place. After nearly 20 years covering news — cops and courts, higher education, health care and nonprofits — I’ve decided to accept a new challenge. So to avoid my column about whatever cute thing my kids said yesterday, please note that it’ll be in this section most Thursdays. Bottom of the page.
My first day on this new venture was Monday, which is the same day one of the best emails I’ve ever gotten landed in my inbox. It asked a simple question: “Would you be interested in interviewing George?”
Who is George, you ask?
I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, some background ...
When I was a kid, my parents had a little cabin in the woods in northern Wisconsin. My childhood summer weekends were spent there, Lake DesMoines, a short hike from the “bustling” downtown of Webb Lake.
Congratulations to Jason & Alexandra!
Jason and Alexandra are the lucky winners of the Albany Union Times Contest! Their entry was chosen from thousands to receive an autographed set list and a meet and greet with George at the show in Albany, NY. #40YearsStrong!
Congratulations and thank you for sharing your very sweet story!
"My favorite George Thorogood song is “I’ll Change My Style.” Me and my wife went to a George Thorogood show in Montreal for our first date. Needless to say, we didn’t see much of the show because we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. However, after that show, we haven’t missed a show in the last 14 years. I love this song because I used to be “bad to the bone,” but after falling in love with her, I am now a “steady rollin’ man.” We have built a wonderful life and a great family together. Only a woman like her could make me change my style and I’ll love her forever because of it. Her birthday is June 26th, so winning this contest would certainly be icing on the cake!!"
Happy Birthday, Alexandra!