The powerhouse that is the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band played at the Fox Theater in Redwood City on September 11th. This was my second time seeing and covering this full throttle blues rock band, and it was just as powerful as the first. Tuesday nights at most venues are typically not well attended. I can only estimate that the house was perhaps two-thirds full. However, those in attendance made up for those that slacked and didn’t come out to see this amazing act. They gave Kenny standing ovations one after another, and roared and cheered and sang along to so many of his songs.
Most of the time fans have their mouths either open in amazement or are screaming for more, or sometimes wrenching left to right as they air-guitar to each and every note. His song setlists are short in comparison to many acts out there, but that doesn’t mean he’s a hit-and-run musician. On the contrary! Backed by a stellar set of musicians like Chris Layton (Double Trouble) on drums, their ability to take a song and extend it 5, 10, or 15 minutes is no issue at all. This is a nightly thing, and it’s what makes the blues such a great form of music. Like jazz, it allows players the space to solo for as long as they like, while the band keeps time and rhythm along with the chord changes throughout.
It’s great to watch such a seasoned act play together. They know each others’ moves and if you know who to watch you can see who’s watching who, and which player is leading the song. They play through a fairly familiar set of songs while on tour, mixing in a few new/old songs here and there. It was great to hear 3 new ones from his latest album “Lay It On Down”. A chart-topping album from 2017 (US #1), it has many songs that fit right into his setlist like others from his other albums (six previous US #1’s).
As mentioned above, the venue was less than at full capacity. Kenny knew this and addressed the audience thanking them all for coming out on a Tuesday night. He and the band didn’t pull back and phone it in, though. They gave it all they had as if playing to a packed house. It was exciting to see how world-class performers put on shows like this and give it their all.
A few more nights in California ends the West Coast swing before he heads off to the land down under (Australia). After a short time there, he’ll be back and heading into the Midwest. Catch him when he hits your town. You will be so glad you did!
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