So, as part of my continuing quest to “do things,” I was able to pick up a ticket to see George Thorogood and the Destroyers celebrating 40 years in the business at the Smith Center in Las Vegas.
Front row. First time I’ve seen any concert from the front row, and for only $65.
Anyway, in an attempt to enhance my GT experience, I contacted a DJ in Vegas (Kim Kelly, 97.1 FM, The Point–shameless plug) and told her I was flying in for the show and wanted to see if their station was doing any giveaways or events in conjunction with the show. She kindly told me that George was doing a lobby show at the station, followed by a meet and greet with the fans; pictures, autographs, etc.
I know that those things tend to get populated by radio winners and “friends” of station staff, so imagine my surprise when she said “Let me see if I can put you on the list.” And ten minutes later, I’m on the list.
The lobby show was pretty cool. George and his guitarist did 3-4 acoustic numbers and taped an interview with the incredible Kim Kelly for broadcast later. Very cool. They gave away one lucky fan an autographed guitar. No, I didn’t win that, but by then I had already won.
Got my picture, thanked Kim profusely and sincerely, and left to prep for the show later that evening.
The Smith Center, if you get a chance, is a gorgeous venue. They apparently have several theatres, from the 2000 seat Reynold’s arena I was in, along with two, much-smaller halls, holding just over and just under 200 (yes, that’s TWO HUNDRED) seats. Talk about intimate.
Acoustics were incredible, and the opening act, Sara Robinson and the Midnight Special, was awesome. Sara Robinson is a 20-21 year old with a ridiculous voice for blues rock. Remember the name. If there’s any justice, you’ll be hearing it again.
Then George took the stage. Through 90 minutes, he gave the audience all the energy he had, he joked, he hammed it up, and he really looked like he was enjoying himself.
He seems to have given up some of the heavy guitar duties to his lead, or maybe that is just me wanting him to have played all those parts through the years. Regardless, he proved on more than one occasion that he can still tear it up when he wants to.
So, after ninety minutes, he finally finished up, hammed up the exit just a little bit more, and the audience ate it up. If you want to have a fun time with a fun band, this is the one. Watch for his tour, and make it a point to go.
And this from a, in George’s (joking) words, “more discriminating music fan,” while looking my way in the front row, knowing that I am a Rush fan.