USA (Saratoga), September 8, 2006 Review

artist: James Gang date: 09/12/2006 category: live concerts

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James Gang: USA (Saratoga), September 8, 2006
The sound was superb. Huge kudos to the keyboard player they got for the tour.
 Sound: 10
 Perfomance: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
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overall: 10
USA (Saratoga), September 8, 2006 Reviewed by: Kalakala, on september 12, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: We got to sit in at the sound check, and to watch a musican like Joe Walsh conduct a sound check is pretty interesting stuff. Joe's set up was pretty simple, he was using a Marshall stack, a few effects, and an awesome arsenal of axes. Looked like the stack was lined right into the PA. He strapped on a 50's gold-top Les Paul, made some tone adjustments, walked over to the Marshall, cranked it up and made a few more. Couldn't make out the head model, but it must have been a 200 watt-er. Since Pete Townshend is a good freind and has been for decades, I'd bet the farm that the head has gone through more than one modification. Pete was famous for tweaking his Hiwatt and Marshall heads, so he probably clued Joe into it. Sound board was to his left off stage, and all Joe needed was one go-round of each instrument and microphone. A "thumb's up or down" told the tech what to do. He didn't spend more than five minutes on it. The sound was superb. Huge kudos to the keyboard player they got for the tour. Hammond B-3 with Leslie speakers gave great tone. The venue held about 1800, and was sold out for weeks. The crowd was great, the band was great, the venue was great. You couldn't have asked for a better experience. Look, if you don't know Who the James Gang is, you really need to do your homework and do yourself a favor. For that matter, it's scary to think that anyone who logs onto Ultimate-Guitar doesn't know who Joe Walsh is. Joe's guitars will have your jaw on the ground. He used two different 50's model tobacco/sunburst Les Pauls, and one gold-top. For Funk 49 and most of the slide work he used a Strat (sorry, can't tell you the year), and for some of the acoustic stuff, it looked like Taylors. His 12-string was a koa model. Looked like Dale was using a Fender Jazz with Trace-Elliott speakers. Jimmy had a very nice kit, more cymbals that I would have guessed. Like I said before, the sound mix was great, and the back-up female singers really came through with the "3-part female harmonies" that Joe is famous for in his music. Their mix was just right, not overwhelming but you'd certainly know it if they weren't there. Nearly 60, Joe (like everyone) has a bit of trouble singing the high notes, but he completely backed out a few times and let the girls take over, and it worked really nicely. Once in a while he'd grab one, and really, both his singing and guitar work were fabulous. // 10

Perfomance: The audience went nuts. Lemme tell ya, I've surrendered my hearing to the likes of The Who, Zep, ELP, and Deep Purple long ago. This show was right up there in my Top 10 of all freakin' time. Setlist: 01. Walk Away 02. Take A Look Around 03. Midnight Man 04. Asshtonpark 05. The Bomber 06. Garden Gate (Joe solo acoustic) 07. Ashes The Rain And I (Joe & Dale acoustic guitars, Jim on bass) 08. Tend My Garden 09. Stop 10. You're Gonna Need Me 11. Lost Woman 12. Funk #49 Encore: 13. Rocky Mountain Way 14. Going Down Well, a big thank you to "I Love All Access". Tix were spendy, but when you're flying a distance (we flew to Oakland from Seattle) you don't want any burps. And there weren't any. We got to attend the sound check, and actually meet Joe, Dale and Jimmy during a pre-show get together. One neat feature of this package was all of us got a raffle ticket, and the two winners got to play cowbell and maracas when they did the soundcheck for Funk 49. What a hoot! Even Joe laughed because these two couldn't find a beat if it bit 'em on the arse! Meeting Joe - whoa. I've been to hundreds of shows, but Joe has been my guitar "Yoda" for decades. What do you say when you get to meet the guy and shake the hand that wrote songs like "Hotel California", "Rocky Mountain Way", "Life In The Fast Lane", "In The City", "The Bomber" and "Funk 49"? "Hi Joe! Got any gum?" // 10

Overall Impression: Saratoga Mountain Winery, Friday, Sept. 8, Saratoga, California. Opener was JD And The Straight Shots. Sorry, can't tell you much about them. Too busy at the bar! Margarita's served from a beer tap with Souza Silver tequila? Oh, yeah, I'm there! Loved every single thing. We were to be at the venue at 3:00 p.m. for the sound check, and didn't get out till close to 11:00. A long but unforgettable day. If you want to have a great experience and "I Love All Access" is offering package for the show, I highly recommend shelling out the bucks ($350 per package) for it. Spendy, I know, but if it's someone you really dig, this is a great way to go. I was in Row 7, on the aisle. Joe was 20 feet from me, and the stage was maybe a foot higher than the main floor, so he was right in front of me. This show was something I'll never forget. I was watching Joe like a hawk, and his fretboard work is staggering. If you can think of a better slide player (maybe Derek Trucks) good luck. Joe's tone was a thing of beauty. Take a listen to "Take A Look Around". In the instrumental break you hear a soaring Les Paul signature sound. It's the thing that will send a chill up your spine. After 20 years, Joe perfectly duplicated that same tone at this show. When Mr. Marshall and Mr. Paul designed their creations, it was specifically for a master musician like Joe Walsh. So, in closing, if you don't know Who the James Gang is and you play a guitar, get busy. This is required material. You need to know what it is. Secondly, if you're a guitar player and don't know Who Joe Walsh is, you should be drawn and quartered. Shame on you. This was the next to last show of the tour. When I talked to Jimmy Fox (drummer) he told me that the response has been so overwhelming that none of the players can just "Walk Away" from it. Hopefully, there's a future for more shows and recorded material. If the James Gang gets even remotely close to you, do whatever it takes and go see them. It'll give you a whole new reason to respect the elder statesment of this wonderful arena of expression that we call "guitar playing." In every aspect of this show, I give it a 10. Magic. You know what I mean. And I'm the toughest critic I know. If there was one flaw, I'd tell you, but there wasn't. No one single blessed thing. Except that I could have sat and enjoyed the show for about 5 hours longer. Performances like this don't come often. I can count mine on one hand, and like I said, I'm almost 50 and if you can name them, I've probably seen them. But see, that's how Joe is. If you want to see a flawless performance by a seasoned master, Joe's your guy! // 10

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