From the second that Mark Leimbach’s Fender sent out the first few oh-so-familiar opening notes of Jolé Blon until the last vibrating cymbal was once again silent, there was definitely nothing “borderline” about the quality of this performance. Gary U S Bonds, together with the sensational Roadhouse Rockers hit the stage running and believe me, they didn’t stop.

The set list featured material from all of Gary’s releases and like an expertly mixed cocktail, the old blended perfectly with the new as did the borrowed with the blues.

As for the highlights… to be honest the entire show was in a league of its own in terms of “magic moments” – see set list for confirmation. But for sure, there were times when my personal clapometer went off the top of the scale. So here are some of the things that sent my pulse a-racing:

Bitch/Dumb Ass featured Gary and his daughter, Laurie, sharing lead vocals on this verbally challenging track taken from the new CD, Back In 20. Watching father and daughter trading lyrical insults at each other was highly entertaining and gave Laurie a chance to show off her vocal skills. All good fun though judging by the “bond” that was clearly apparent between them.

Murder In The First Degree, also a track taken from the new CD, gave all of the band members a chance to perform solo and wow… did these guys respond? Oh yeah…! Doug DeHays and Mark Leimbach did an awesome saxophone vs. Fender duel… Jim Wacker’s honky-tonk keyboard solo was pure magic… Lance Hyland Stark belted his drum skins like there was no tomorrow, threw a stick in the air, caught it mid-beat and continued playing like there was no big deal… and as for Hal Selzer? I swear I thought he’d burst the strings on his fret board such was the power and the deftness of his finger-work… kinda like watching a load-test for guitar strings in action!

You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks actually features Bruce Springsteen on the album version and there was no mistaking the Darlington County riff my ears picked up during the guitar solo.

Club Soul City was an audience request and prompted Gary to say, “Don’t forget to tip your waiters…” by way of making a reference to a Springsteen quote. Preceded by a medley of oldies but goodies that was also a part of this extended encore, added yet further energy to a show which had already been firing on all cylinders from the get-go.

All too soon, the house lights came on and with them, Gary – looking as fresh as a daisy I hasten to add – came back out to sign CDs, t-shirts and anything else that was presented to him. So yeah… I think I’d like to know exactly what was in the glass that Gary stopped now and again to have a wee tipple from during the course of the show… and to echo a line from “When Harry Met Sally”, I want what he had!

A really, really great show and here’s hoping Gary doesn’t leave it so long until his next visit to the UK.

Set List:
Jolé Blon
New Orleans
You Are My Sunshine
Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
I’ve Got Dreams To Remember
Murder In The First Degree
Out Of Work
Daddy’s Come Home
Bitch/Dumb Ass
This Little Girl
River Red
Quarter To Three
Take Me Back
Medley: Twist, Twist Senora; School Is Out; Dear Lady Twist; I Got The Beat
Club Soul City
Let The Good Times Roll

Laurie Anderson Snr. and Laurie Anderson Jnr. – back-up vocals
Doug DeHays – saxophone
Mark Leimbach – guitar
Hal B. Selzer – bass
Lance Hyland Stark – drums
Jim Wacker – keys

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