Courtesy Australian Musician
George Thorogood & The Destroyers. Forum Melbourne. Friday Oct 28, 2022
Review: Greg phillips Photos: Jason Rosewarne
It’s only been two and a half years since George Thorogood and The Destroyers were last here but with a pandemic in between visits, it seems like it’s been forever. Having already destroyed Canberra a couple of nights earlier, tonight was the first of two ‘Good To Be Bad’ tour shows at the Forum Melbourne and the pre-gig line of loyal fans stretched some way around the block in anticipation of the doors opening.
Talented guitarist, singer, songwriter Hamish Anderson was gifted the job of warming the crowd up but he needn’t have been too concerned as the audience was clearly in a festive frame of mind well before a note had been struck. With Hamish in trio mode, pumping out a quality dose of blues rock, the Forum throng gave back as much as the band delivered. His smokin’ blues treatment of Bowie’s Ziggy era track ’It Aint Easy’ was a revelation. Thorogood later paid Hamish a huge compliment by allowing the young guitar gun up on stage to jam with him.
As the lights dimmed and Barry McGuire’s classic ‘Eve of Destruction’ blared through the PA, the crowd sung along with gusto. The theme to The Good The Bad and the Ugly then welcomed Delaware’s finest to the stage as George yelled … How sweet is this?
Opening with Rock Party, the gig in its infancy was already wild. At its heart, it’s only rock ’n’ roll but with a band dispatching such a punchy bottom end, there was a runaway train vibe to the show. Once you step onboard, there’s no chance of disembarking.
An entrancing version of Bo Diddley’s ‘Who Do You Love’ like I’d never heard before, possessed a little voodoo. Thorogood not only pays homage to the blues greats tonight but also salutes his DC garage rock roots, playing ‘Shot Down’ from 60’s garage band The Sonics and followed it up with ‘Night Time’ from New York punks, The Strangeloves
‘I Drink Alone’ signalled singalong time and from this moment on the audience participation never stopped. Thumbpicking his black ES125 with intent, Thorogood then inflicted a rousing ten minute version of his staple ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’ upon us. So hot was the performance that a few minutes into the next tune, the PA blew out, resulting in a ten minute reprieve to catch our breath.
Thorogood now armed with his famous White Fang guitar returned to the stage like nothing had happened and before the audience could cool down they blasted into ‘Get a Haircut’ and ‘Bad To The Bone’. The crowd of predominantly bald, bearded guys with beer bellies linked arms and sung their hearts out like nobody was watching.
With everything so loose, it was clearly time to ramp up the party mode and deliver the knock out punch with the classic Champs (or Pee Wee Herman depending on your vintage) track ‘Tequila’, featuring Buddy Leach’s slick sax licks.
“Melbourne, the world’s best kept secret,” shouted George as he too seemed like he was having the time of his life. ‘Born To Be Bad’ brought the show to a close but not the singing as Thorogood joined the assembled two thousand in a raucous version of our national anthem. It could have easily been a nursery rhyme with the same result. Fun much? You bet.