George Thorogood previously said in a phone interview he would stop rocking when the people stop asking.
That wont be anytime soon judging by Sunday nights reception when Thorogood and the Destroyers killed it at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
With images of flames and skulls on the stage screens, Thorogood came out to Sweet Little Rock and Roller to kick off the evening. This was followed by Who Do You Love, both of which livened up the crowd, a mix of 20-somethings to mid-sixties, who were right on board with the boogie-blues. Thorogood then lent the spotlight to Buddy Leach on the saxophone for I Drink Alone.
As Thorogood thumped a bass line on the strings of his Gibson ES-125 and snarled through lyrics it was hard to shake the feeling like you were sitting at a smoky bar listening to a drunken escapade, embellished or not, you were listening and trying to remember every detail so you could tell your friends. And just as Thorogood got to the climax the crowd lifted their drinks and screamed out One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer. One of his most popular covers.
Thorogood shuffled across the stage and the obligatory bra was tossed to his feet from the crowd. At 62 years old, he still has moves and that same raspy voice.
He dropped to his knee to fingerpick on his guitar before they switched it out for his white-bodied Gibson’s. After taking a break to turn away from the crowd and comb his hair, he returned to the mic and fittingly played Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job, putting those in the back of the house standing on the floor into full dance mode.
The entertainer, who knows how to start a party, later egged on the crowd asking what they wanted to hear next. He asked how BAD did they want it? As the cheers grew, Thorogood played the recognizable first few licks of Bad to the Bone and immediately had the crowd in his hands. He spun and swirled clutching his guitar close like he was dancing with a woman then he rocked and gyrated his hips back to centre stage. The classic cover, Move It On Over, was saved for the finale.
But, the crowd wasn’t quite ready to leave. Whistles and cheers filled the SOEC and back he came. This time wearing a fedora hat that he chucked out to the crowd and a t-shirt that simply said ‘Let It Rock.’ Thorogood told the audience he felt “like getting dirty tonight” and now “it’s time to get down to business.” He gave a mean rendition of You Talk To Much and belted out a few others during his two encores before ending it off with Born to Be Bad.
Thorogood, an American icon, walked off stage to the music of O’ Canada. But not before he flashed his toothy grin and thanked the crowd for a start of what he hopes is “a long and beautiful relationship.”
Without a doubt the crowd hoped so too.