Delaware State Fair
Harrington, Del. • Friday, July 29, 2016
George Thorogood brought his band the Destroyers to the Delaware State Fair for a night of blues and rock n’ roll. Waiting for the show to begin, I ran into legendary harp player Dr. Harmonica (Mark Keneally) and his wife Mary seated in the front row, of course. The good Doc cited Thorogood as an inspiration being one of the best blues players in the business, and also a fellow Delawarean. At 9pm, Thorogood and his four-piece backing band took the stage to thunderous applause from the already in the mood partying crowd and went on to rock through a 12-song, 90-minute set of half originals and half covers which he always plays. Thorogood, whom I have not seen since ‘08, looks like he hasn’t aged at all. He walked on stage with pretty much the same attire he usually wears, sporting his silver snake skin bandana, sunglasses, jeans and a cut-off Destroyers T-shirt. The band opened with "Rock Party," Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love", and "The Fixer;" then said to the crowd, “How is everybody in Delaware? This is our first time in Harrington and it won’t be our last.” The band then went right into "Night Time" and segued into "I Drink Alone". After the song he said, “I'm hot!” and then shed his bandana and sunglasses. Thorogood then said he met John Lee Hooker once who told him he was good, and Thorogood replied "I know, and after 40 years now I'm only badder and better,” as he launched into Hooker's famous "House Rent Blues / One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” As everyone knows, in the latter part of the song he sings, "If you’re high, your mouth is dry." He then told the crowd to not drive, get your friend to drive you home, or get your friend’s girlfriend to drive you home. “That’s my Public Safety Announcement for the evening,” he said. At the end of the next song, "Get a Haircut", he said, "It’s too quiet for a Friday rock concert, especially a Destroyers show!” Out comes a switch of guitars from his hollow body black Gibson to a white one along with his copper slide for "Gear Jammer," on which he played a nice slide solo. To close out the first set, he played Hank William's "Move it On Over" and "Twenty Dollar Gig", with Thorogood just on vocals and no guitar. Next, with just the opening chords to "Bad to the Bone," the crowd instantly knew the song and the cheers and sing-a-long began. At the end of the song he held up the guitar over his head while the band walked off and left him standing in the spotlight until he exited the stage.
After a short break, the band returned and Thorogood said that backstage security had informed him that the fair's curfew had been lifted and there is time for one more song. The band played Elmore James’ "Madison Blues" giving the crowd one last sing-a-long for the night before the band ended and walked off once again. As the house lights came up, the PA system started to play an acoustic version of our National Anthem, to which Thorogood returned to the front of the stage and waved, bowed, and thanked the fans for coming out tonight before finally walking off for the night. Even though there were no flashy productions, I don’t think anyone noticed as the night of music from George Thorogood & the Destroyers was outrageously good rock n’ blues from a bona fide rock great.
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