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Eric Johnson & Sonny Landreth Concert Review 09/30/2011

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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.

Written by The Metal Files

October 2, 2011 at 9:28 am