Hot Stove, Cool Music gets the blues

A review of "Hot Stove, Cool Music" with Buddy Guy and George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the Bank of America Pavilion on August 17, 2008

, Managing Editor

Sunday night at the Bank of America Pavilion Theo Epstein and Peter Gammons proved that they know more than baseball; they flat out know how to rock. Epstein and Gammons’ “Hot Stove, Cool Music” lived up to it’s name as Buddy Guy supplied some wondrous, cool blues before George Thorogood and the Destroyers served up some hot barroom romps. But first, Gammons and Epstein knocked out the first tunes of the night themselves.

ESPN’s Peter Gammons took the stage early before much of the crowd had arrived, but that didn’t stop him and his extensive band from having some fun playing a few jiving blues numbers such as Dr. Feelgood’s “Tanqueray”. Theo joined in for “Jet Airliner”, with Gammons making note of the songs local roots beforehand, speaking about the song’s writer, the late Cape Cod native Paul Pena. Theo didn’t look too happy as the Sox were pounded by the Blue Jays earlier in the day but he managed to crack a smile before the band closed with “Looking For the Party”.

WEEI’s Michael Holley provided some entertainment between sets as he interviewed Theo and Peter and conducted live auctions for A Foundation To Be Named Later, the evening’s beneficiaries, for prizes such as a night in Theo’s luxury box as well as fantasy tips from Peter.&

After the bidding came Buddy. The blues legend oddly went on first and had people wondering why he didn’t get the headlining slot after a brilliant set that went by too fast. Opening with “Little by Little” Buddy immediately started wailing away on his guitar. “Hoochie Coochie Man” followed with a quiet, playful start as Buddy strolled from side to side on stage before unleashing an insane solo with enough licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. His guitarist also dished out an impressive solo and even spun his guitar midway through.&

The rest of Guy’s set was mostly filled with tracks off his new album Skin Deep, showing that the old guy has still got it. “Out in the Woods” had the fans literally howling as Buddy sang “I got wolf blood in my veins”. “Best Damn Fool” came next with a heavy beat as well as some wah guitar and a little slap bass to give it a funky edge.&

Buddy took a break from the blues boogie to play the soulful title track from the new album. A churchy organ sound rang out as people cheered to the positive messages of equality in the song in what was a truly deep and heartfelt moment. With people on their feet at the conclusion of the song Buddy decided to join them as he walked and rocked through the audience during “Drownin’ On Dry Land”.

Some local flavor was added to the mix as the little guy with the big sound, Quinn Sullivan of New Bedford, joined Guy for “Who’s Gonna Fill Those Shoes” and went lick for lick with Buddy. The legendary bluesman ended his showcase with a taste of some of the guitar gods as he and Quinn riffed all over “Voodoo Child” before Guy did some short takes on John Lee Hooker and Eric Clapton to close.

Headliner George Thorogood and the Destroyers, aka “The World’s Greatest Bar Band”, took the stage to a thunderous intro before ripping into a set of good ol’ rock n’ roll that was fantastically cheesy. Appropriately opening with “Rock Party”, George took the stage looking like the ridiculous old rocker that he is and sporting a headband, round shades, and, of course. no sleeves. The shades didn’t last long as they were whipped off as he thrusted and soloed during the rockin’ opening.

“Who Do You Love?” kept the fans satisfied before George took some time to display that he was still a bad man by saying, “I’m gonna try to get arrested tonight… someone’s gotta go to jail for rock n’ roll and it might as well be me” then inviting all the ladies in the house to “get on the dancefloor and do the slow grind with Georgey” after “The Fixer”.&

One of his credentials for the “Greatest Bar Band” tag came next with “I Drink Alone”, which saw Thorogood yelling, “Welcome to the hangover from hell!” Next up was a try at his famous take on John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”. The fans took in his rent money tale with joy as Thorogood told them, “You’re gonna hear it again motherhumpers!” before he played it up with the crowd, twitching his face like a wacko.&

Elvin Bishop joined the band for the blues stomp, “Don’t Let the Boss Man Get You Down”, showing off his guitar chops, but George was quickly fooling around again with “I Got My Eyes On You”, tearing it up on the slide guitar. Thorogood then closed the main set with his big hits “Bad to the Bone” and “Move It On Over” in front of clips from his goofy old music video.

The band would return for “Love Doctor” and “You Talk Too Much”, which reached its climax when George yelled “Shut the fuck up!” They exited once again only to return with Chuck Berry’s old blues shuffle, “Back in the USA”, with George taking on some kind of barroom Uncle Sam persona as he donned an American flag headband and ended the evening with the national anthem, capping off a show that old people would refer to as a “hoot”.

The latest edition of Hot Stove, Cool Music was certainly a success as the night was filled with amusement, solid entertainment, and some good old blues music. You just can’t beat a great show for a great cause.

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