When: January 15th, 2013
I've always loved characters. For me, a great character has two traits: a God given uniqueness and an interesting story. Using those as measurements of character, Johnny Winter is in the top percentile. A cross eyed albino boy from Texas becomes a blues icon, survives years of drug abuse, cleans up in his 60s and goes back to kicking ass. Now, here I was in BB's waiting to see him, one of the greatest guitarists in history. Needless to say, I was pumped for this. Hats off to my dad for alerting me about the show when we got talking about music last weekend. Scooped up a ticket as soon as I was back in Queens. Dad's got taste. As they say, the apple don't fall far from the tree.
Johnny Standing For His First Song
For a solid hour, Johnny Winter was in top form. He spent most of the show seated at the front of the stage, tattoed arms barely moving, but fingers flying. He slowed things down with Blackjack, an old Ray Charles tune. Then, he ripped through Killing Floor and brought many in the crowd to their feet. For the encore he broke out the slide and blew the roof off with Dust My Broom. His attacking style sounded at times like some sort of possessed siren, his slide gliding all over the neck sending torrents of wailing guitar off the walls. I was on my feet, smiling ear to ear and occasionally screaming, "Fuck yeah!" like some trailer park metalhead at the speedway concert series. I'm not that guy, but what can I say. The spirit moved me.
By the last song, as he started down Highway 61, I began to hear those sour notes again. I made my way out and into the glow of a wet Times Square night, wanting to leave after seeing him at his best, not tightening up on the last number. It's not often you get to see a legend in a small club on a Tuesday. This is one show I'll never forget. Shoot, I might even go back next week for another slice of Winter in Winter. There is only one Johnny Winter, and he ain't no spring chicken.
Want to see a little interview with Johnny and hear him tell a couple stories? Go HERE.
For a great 1970 live performance of Be Careful With a Fool on Danish TV, click HERE.