Kenny Wayne Shepherd with Robert Cray
September 13, 2012
By Jeb Wright
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Set List:
Never Lookin’ Back | Somehow Somewhere Someway | Everything is Broken | Losin’ Kind |Deja Voodoo | Born With a Broken Heart | Shame, Shame, Shame | Dark Side of Love | Shotgun Blues | While We Cry
Blue On Black | King Bee | Oh Well | Voodoo Child
The Osage Casino was the host to two of the most influential names in the Blues, one old school and one modern day on a cool and damp Oklahoma evening.
Hot shot guitar ace Kenny Wayne Shepherd headlined, but the one, and only, Robert Cray opened the show. It was an evening full of true Blues, both heartfelt and sad and loud and in your face.
Supporting his latest album, Nothin’ But Love, Cray is a smooth bluesman, who can captivate an audience with the way he performs. He is the total package, an amazing guitarist, a man with a voice of gold who can evoke emotions from the audience with the way he winches, smiles, and winks and nods.
The most known tune was his massive hit “Smoking Gun” however; all the songs were just as good. It was a tad more subdued, musically, than he has been in the past, but no one was complaining. While there were a lot of mellow moments, they were so well executed and emotional that everyone in the audience was sitting on the edge of their seat playing close attention to the blues icon.
When his show was over, the mood in the event center shifted, as everyone knew that The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band was only moments away from taking the. Kenny, who is a great blues and rock guitar player, has built a solid reputation as a live act. All of his studio records are amazing yet seeing him on stage just kicks the entire situation up a notch.
Noah Hunt, on vocals, is the emcee and the entertainment. He also happens to remind one of a young Paul Rodgers on vocals. Shepherd and Hunt have been playing together long enough now that they know what the other will do and they feed off each other’s energy.
It does not hurt that Rodgers former band mate in The Firm, Tony Franklin, is Kenny’s current bass player and that Stevie Ray Vaughan’s drummer, Chris Layton, is Kenny’s drummer. This is a band that can flat out cook and make it look easy in the process.
In spite of all the famous faces on stage, and Hunt’s charisma and vocal skills, all eyes seem to end up on Kenny Wayne. The blond haired guitar slinger puts a lot of energy into his performance, whether it be a soft song like “While We Cry,” a blues classic ala “King Bee” or a rocker like “Everything is Broken.”
The set list was a surprise, as Shepherd went back to his debut album four times performing the amazing “Deja Voodoo,” “Shame, Shame, Shame,” “Born with a Broken Heart” and the main set ending guitar masterpiece “While We Cry.”
His best album, Live On, was represented with songs one would not normally think Kenny would play. Instead of playing the popular songs on the album like “In 2 Deep,” “Was” or “Last Goodbye,” Shepherd trotted out the Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac classic “Oh Well,” “Losin’ Kind” and “Shotgun Blues.”
His other classic album, Trouble Is was not represented by “Slow Ride” or “I Found Love” instead the band played “Everything is Broken” and “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway.” During the encore, the album’s biggest hit, “Blue On Black” was, of course performed.
Shepherd is on the road promoting his latest Roadrunner Records release How I Go and kicked off the show with the best song on the album, “Never Lookin’ Back.” The other new tune played on this evening was the infectiously groovy “Dark Side of Love.”
In addition to the aforementioned “Blue On Black” and “Oh Well” the encore also included the blues staple “King Bee” and the Jimi Hendrix classic “Voodoo Child.” Shepherd has preformed the classic guitar fest for years and his version goes on forever with cascading guitar solos and improvised moments that bring the entire band together as one.
Shepherd came to prominence at a young age, seventeen, playing music that was decades older then he was. It is inspiring to see that Kenny was able to avoid just being a musical gimmick. He has earned his success and he continues to be passionate about the blues. His work in the genre has sparked new interest from fans of all ages.
His performance in Tulsa proved that Shepherd deserves all of the same respect and accolades of bluesmen, such as Robert Cray, from different generations. This guy and his band are the real deal.
If you see this package in your area, then snap up a couple of tickets and get ready to feel the Blues!