Johnny Winter – Livin’ the Blues

It had been so long since I had been able to go to a venue to enjoy a musician I liked live that I had forgotten the sheer pleasure, the joy, to be found in great music played LOUD. Played at a volume where the music hammers into and through you and sets your very core to vibrating in tune with the music.

From the moment that Johnny Winter’s band of Paul Nelson (guitar), Scott Spray (bass) and Vito Liuzzi (drums) were introduced and began to play – before Mr. Winter joined them on stage at the end of that first number – you knew you were in for a treat for the ears and the soul.

The first notes they played drove all thoughts but ‘man, are they tight’ out of your mind and made for an evening of spectacular music.

It was not the quality of the music that was the most impressive part of the evening. You expect great music from Johnny Winter. What strikes you is the seeming effortlessness with which Mr. Winter displays his mastery of the guitar, calling forth the musical sound that affirms him as a virtuoso.

From the opening notes played by the three members of Johnny Winter’s band to the final notes of Highway 61 the evening was a musical tour de force that left you energized, with a huge smile on your face and a joy that could be heard in your voice.

Nanaimo’s Mr. David Gogo’s solo acoustic blues was the perfect opening act for the evening. His solo acoustic performance allowed him to demonstrate his own mastery of the blues and the guitar without competing or being contrasted with Johnny Winter.

Switching back and forth between his two acoustic guitars Mr. Gogo demonstrated why he has ten albums under his belt and an impressive list of nominations and awards.

Mr. Gogo’s set was such that the first thing I did upon returning home was to go online to the Library to see which of Mr. Gogo’s ten CDs were available to be reserved, taken out and listened to.

It was a greatly enjoyable evening of outstanding music enhanced by the venue, Mission’s Clarke Theatre, were there were nothing but good seats.

One of the reasons that poverty grinds away at the spirit is that the revitalization of one’s soul and spirit that simple pleasures such as this evening of great Blues music with Johnny Winter and David Gogo provide is beyond one’s reach. While the price was incredibly reasonable for the music delivered by the performers, it might just have as well have been $10,000 for its lack of affordability on my budget.

The pleasure, joy, relaxation and memories provided me by the evening’s music came to me courtesy of an early Christmas present. Meaning that whatever else happens Christmas 2010 is already a great success in terms of gifts.

Thanks to Mr. Winter, Mr. Gogo and Mr. Earl for a most joyful, exhilarating evening of Smokin’ Blues.

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