George Thorogood / Damon Fowler @ The Pageant, St. Louis, MO

Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
Alright.  I gotta admit, one of the reasons I wanted to review this show was redemption!  You see, back in the early 80’s I saw a much younger George Thorogood that played a really short show in Cincinnati.  Forty-five minutes to be exact.  After an hour and fifteen minute drive to see George play for that limited amount of time did not make me happy, but nonetheless, I have remained a big George Thorogood fan throughout the years.  So on with the redemption!

A true story about the show opener, Damon Fowler, about a week before this show, I was listening to satellite radio and a voice caught my ear.  That voice belonged to Damon Fowler.  When I heard the voice I thought it may have been some new Leon Bridges material, but no, it was the guy I would be seeing a week later.  So needless to say, I was stoked when I saw who was opening the show!  Damon brings it pretty much straight, no chaser, swamp-blues style that is backed by his smooth vocal talents.  I thought I had discovered a new artist but after researching Damon’s career, I found he’s been doing this for a while, with his first album being released in 1999.  Fowler’s last album, Sounds of Home, was released in 2014 but contains a couple of gems worth a listen including “Old Fools, Bar Stools, and Me”, a bluesy-beast of a song that repeats the age-old adage, “I need a drink because my woman left me”.  The other song from the 2014 album that commands attention and was well received live, is Fowler’s cover of Elvis Costello’s, “Alison”.  In summary, I’m a new Damon Fowler fan and judging by the reaction of the Pageant audience, there were several other new fans made in St. Louis as well!

As the sounds of Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” fade, it is replaced by music that is befitting of a boxer entering the ring for a title fight.  And sure enough, a Michael Bufferesque voice cuts through the entrance music, “Ladies and Gentleman, the main event, the undisputed, the undefeated, rock and roll heavyweight champion of the world, George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers”.  Well, this is already better than that early 80’s show I was seeking redemption for!  A true rock and roll champion George is, and at age 66, he’s still delivering a solid punch to audiences around the world.  George leads the Destroyers on to the stage and bows graciously to all in attendance and mutters the words that words that have opened Thorogood’s show for many years, “How sweet it is!"  Wasting little time establishing that famous Delaware Destroyers sound, the song “Rock Party” is chosen for the opener.  Right off the bat one can’t help but notice George’s apparent enthusiasm for what he does.  Smiling, mugging for cell phone shots, and direct eye contact with audience members all helped to enhance the overall concert experience.

As one could imagine most of, if not all, of George’s career is covered in one way, shape or form during his hour and a half set, which included “Move it on Over”, “I Drink Alone”, and “Get a Haircut”.  Loyalty to George among the Destroyers is a common theme as drummer Jeff Simon has been with the band for 40 years, and is closely followed by Billy Blough on bass, who has 37 years in!  George is watching intently from the stage, as a young lady is dancing in the aisle and security is attempting to move her.  George waives off security and summons the fan to the stage, security yields, and he proceeds to do the equivalent of knighting the young lady with the neck of his guitar.  This moment completed my redemption, Thanks George!  Anyone that knows of George’s music also knows he is no slough on the guitar.  His solo during “Gear Jammer” is a thing of beauty.  Thorogood personalizes this night in Missouri with lines like, “What do you say we quit foolin’ and play some rock and roll, St. Louis style!"  And closing out the night recognizing this baseball town with a, “Cya in the World Series!”  As George walks off the stage at the completion of the encore, “Madison Blues”, he is greeted by a crew member with a black, boxing robe, reaffirming he is still the undisputed, undefeated, rock and roll heavyweight champion of rock and roll!  Thanks to the Pageant for their hospitality and to George Thorogood’s PR team for allowing us access this show.  Photos of the show are below:

Damon Fowler

George Thorogood
Contributed by Duane Clawson
George Thorogood / Damon Fowler @ The Pageant, St. Louis, MO George Thorogood / Damon Fowler @ The Pageant, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on March 15, 2016 Rating: 5
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