Edgar Winter Group
w/ Rick Derringer Band
Honoka’a People’s Theatre
March 3, 2018
Classic Rock legends Rick Derringer and Edgar Winter packed the People’s Theatre last Saturday, and offered the crowd a collection of their mid-1970’s hits. Both were in perfect form, and backed by competent players who have long impressive music resumes as well. This was the fourth and final night of their “Still Alive and Well – A Tribute to Johnny Winter Hawaii Tour 2018.”
Guitar hero Derringer opened the show, and took us back where he began his musical career with the rock group The McCoys, and their hit single “Hang On Sloopy.” Derringer spoke proudly about the song that knocked The Beatles out of their No. 1 chart position back in 1965, and if you visit Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame you can see the McCoys’ drum head on display. Sadly, he’s been eligible for induction since 1998, but hasn’t made it yet.
“They have a whole wing for Madonna there,” said Derringer of the MTV generation singer who was inducted in 1998. “And what about George Clinton? What was his hit?” The audience seemed clueless. “I’m going to call ‘em up and when I get there, I’m goin’ to say, ‘Gimme that thing!’”
In addition to his long solo career, Derringer has made important contributions as a studio and touring sideman with Alice Cooper, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, and Ringo Starr, among others.
After playing his interpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Derringer launched into “Real American,” a tune on his 1985 release The Wrestling Album. “I wanted to write the most patriotic song of all time,” said the guitarist, “but then I heard Hulk Hogan wanted to use it as his theme song.”
The song was also used in various other platforms— On America’s Got Talent, where the winners balanced 24 watermelons on their heads as the song played. In 2011 President Obama was at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner where it was used as the soundtrack in a video that unveiled his birth certificate. Although the video has over 10 million views, Derringer hasn’t seen a dime in royalties. “In some ways, it’s taken on an exponential growth I never anticipated,” said Derringer. “It’s my biggest song in a lot of ways, even though it’s never been released as a single.”
Derringer’s band featured the talented Charlie Torres on bass. The two have been playing together for over 25 years. Kenn Moutenot was on drums, and has performed with a long list of talents like the late Buddy Miles and Deodato, the Brazilian pianist, composer, and arranger, who had the 1973 jazz-funk hit “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”
After a brief intermission, Johnny Winter’s younger brother, multi-instrumentalist and singer Edgar Winter took the stage and kicked off his 90-minute set with “Keep Playin’ That Rock ‘n’ Roll,” an FM radio favorite in 1971. Winter has recorded more than twenty albums and released multiple chart-topping hits, including “Free Ride,” and the No. 1 hit, “Frankenstein.”
During his set, Winter played keyboards, alto sax, and a Univox electric piano he slings around his neck. One of the most thrilling moments came when Winter and his amazing guitarist Doug Rappoport did a six-minute scat/call-and-response duel. Winter started with an almost impossible vocal riff that Rappoport followed note for note. Winter then walked across the stage and repeated the process with bassist kOko Powell and with drummer Jason Carpenter.
Unexpected, but well executed, was a cover of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Rappoport flawlessly adopted the familiar Pete Townshend guitar player stances and then briefly switched into Hendrix mode, playing the guitar behind his head.
The crowd pleaser, of course, was “Frankenstein,” the 1973 classic rock power chord synth jam. A set of timbales sat unused on stage all night until Winter played them frantically on this song. Often Winter would challenge young drummer Jason Carpenter in solo trade-offs that had the crowd stomping along.
Musically it was a delightful show, although one audience member was tossed out for dancing in his seat area and refused to stop. Normally the wooden floor in front of the stage is open for dancing, but with these classic rock shows the promoter fills it in with “Gold Circle Seating.” Later for the encore everyone was allowed to dance in the aisles or their seats.
Winter played “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” for the encore and was joined by the two members of Rick Derringer’s band.
While most concertgoers leaving the show said it was the best the rock show they’d seen in a long time, there were a few who wished the promoter had opened the doors at the scheduled time of 6pm, and not leave them standing in the rain till 6:30pm. Hopefully, these issues will be worked out for future shows at this venue.
Still Alive and Well | Guitars and Women | Hang On Sloopy | Sometimes | I Play Guitar | The Star-Spangled Banner | Real American | Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo
Keep Playin’ That Rock ‘n’ Roll | Free Ride | Hanging Around | Tobacco Road (with parts of “Heartbreaker”) | Texas Boogie Shuffle | Texas Tornado | We All Had a Real Good Time | Won’t Get Fooled Again | The Power of Positive Drinkin’ | Frankenstein
Jumpin’ Jack Flash