George Thorogood & The Destroyers

The Wellmont Theatre, Montclair NJ

by Noel Edge (October 1, 2011)

In 5 Words or Less ThoroGOD Blues!
Affiliation with KNEW GEN None
Genre Rock, rhythm & blues
Performance & Production The Wellmont Theatre is an awesome place to see a live show. It opened in the early '20s for live entertainment and switched to movies later in the decade. The theatre was renovated a few years ago and on came the bands. Most of the floor is general admission (with some assigned seats toward the back) and the mezzanine is all assigned seating. It's an intimate setting with great acoustics. What more can you ask for? Oh yeah, a little known secret (until now) about parking is that you can go to the lot across the street and park for free after 7 PM (i.e. you don't need a permit to park after that time). So don't pay the $20!

One of my regrets over the past 2 decades is that I've never been to see George Thorogood & The Destroyers live. At last,the wait was over! Check out some pics here.

Although the doors opened at 7 PM and I arrived just before 8 PM, I still had plenty of time to visit one of the many bars in The Wellmont as George and the boys didn't hit the stage until closer to 9 PM. When the lights went down and they boys came out, the crowd erupted. And what an eclectic crowd it was: there were 10 year-olds and 50 year-olds, bikers and old hippie types, and then there was me - it was like a bizarre party. The boys played the classics (including "Bad To The Bone", "Who Do You Love", "I Drink Alone", "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", "Madison Blues" and "Move It On Over") and a few of their more recent recordings ("Goin' Back", "High-Heel Sneakers" and "Seventh Son"). Throughout the night George displayed his mastery of the rhythm & blues guitar, with rippin leads and plenty of slide. His vocals were so typically "George" and The Destroyers so solid behind him that at times I wondered if they were pullin a lip sync job on us (c'mon Noel, give your head a shake...this is Thorogood!). The set lasted for about an hour and a half, which seemed to suit the crowd just fine.  

The stage production was simple: lights cans and a couple of digital image panels. Combine the musicianship with the expertly mixed sound (the sound quality was superb no matter where you were in the theatre) and they could have easily recorded a live album Saturday night. I can't think of a rockin' rhythm & blues band to emerge over the last 30 years that's harder-workin' or better-soundin' than George Thorogood & The Destroyers. Make sure to check 'em out live the next time they're in a town near you!

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