By Nick McCabe - Front Row Photo
Friday evening (September 27th) Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg brought their new blues band, The Rides to The Grand Sierra Resort in Reno for the final show in their short tour. They represent a multi-generational coalition of talent. Just like any other skill or craft it’s a huge benefit for the future of that craft when the elder statesmen pass on their knowledge and experience to the new generation. That might sound a bit hokey when applied to this group, but it isn’t. Kenny is a hugely talented musician, but there’s always something to be learned from seasoned talent like Stephen Stills and Barry Goldberg. There’s no better teacher than experience.
Beth Hart opened the show with a strong thirty minute set that got the crowd energized and eager for more. The Rides started just before 10:00 and played a killer set that went until almost midnight. Besides playing most of their CD, “Can’t Get Enough” they also played selections from each of their own repertoires. Among them were Barry Goldberg’s hit made famous by Gladys Knight and The Pips “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination”, Kenny Wayne Shepherds’ “Blue On Black”, and Stephen’s “Tree Top Flyer” and “Love The One You’re With”. There were also some good old blues standards offered up like “Talk To Me Baby” by Willie Dixon and Elmore James. They came back and encored with the Neil Young hit “Rickin’ in the Free World”. It was a great mix of new and old tunes.
They were having fun all night. You could see them connecting with each other and laughing together off and on. There was no shortage of connecting with the audience either. Stephen and Kenny both took time to talk to the audience between songs. Barry was a little more quite, but his contribution to the show was not at all minimal. His keyboards were fattening up the sound all night, and his solos were effortless and breathtaking.
Rounding out the band is Kenny’s drummer, Chris Layton (of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Double Trouble) and Stephen's long time bass player, Kevin McCormick. Both are accomplished musicians with impressive musical resumes. This is a five man team with enough talent to carry them for many years. Whether or not this is a onetime CD/tour or if they will do it again is yet to be seen. My feeling is that this was a once in a lifetime tour. I would love to be proved wrong.
...and the beat goes on.
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