Eric Johnson & Sonny Landreth Concert Review 09/30/2011
I was introduced to Eric Johnson’s music when Ah Via Musicom was released in 1990 by my friend Mike W. Mike enjoyed he “shredders” like I did and dubbed the cassette for me. I liked it a lot and went back and bought Tones as well. We were excited to see him at the Boathouse in Norfolk later that year. It was a great show all around. I didn’t follow Eric’s career, probably because of the time in between the follow-up which was 6 years. Out of sight, out of mind, eh?
I live in Eric’s hometown now and he rarely plays here but it’s not uncommon to see him do a guest spot when other guitarists roll through town. He recent jammed with Dweezil Zappa and I’ve seen hm hit the stage with Oz Noy. I hadn’t see EJ live since that 1990 show and was pretty excited to finally catch him last Friday. I think he may have done 1 or 2 shows in the last 5 years here (I could be wrong) and I missed them all for one reason or another.
We had good seats and day of the show I was pretty excited about it, even after driving home 3 hours from Dallas.
The opener was Sonny Landreth who I had never heard of until this show was announced. I was really impressed with his set. He’s a very unique rock/blues/jazz fusion/country-ish player. He predominantly uses a slide but does a lot of intricate harmonic techniques and chord structures with both hands. It was pretty neat to see. The guy has been around for a long time and had played with John Hiatt and Jimmy Buffett (blech!). It was a good set and his drummer was great. I think the bassist was good too, but I couldn’t hear him due to the mix. The Paramount Theater has strange sound and I think I may try to get seats further back in the venue next time.
There was a short intermission and then EJ and his band took the stage. It started out with him just doing a few acoustic pieces, one of which was a Paul Simon lullabye. The band comes out he’s got the phenomenal Chris Marsh on bass. The drummer was some young guy named Mark something-or-other. Solid player, obviously schooled. Eric’s set consisted of a lot of newer material and some covers, including John Coltrane’s Mr. D, which was awesome. I will be up front and say that I was rather bored with EJ’s set as there wasn’t much of his rock stuff. So bored as a matter of fact that I left about 3/4 through his set. I was sitting there about to fall asleep. As good as EJ is, his stuff does get a bit “samey” sounding and I tend to get bored quickly.
Chris Marsh was certainly the highlight for me. He’s an astonishing bassist, effortless and awesome.
Other than seeing him sit in with other players, I doubt I’ll go see him live again.