Review and photos by Patrick Dunn
As uncertainty surrounding the pandemic continues to be a lingering variable for any form of live entertainment, concert postponements and cancelations have become something we’ve had to learn to simply accept and be flexible with. In my personal experience at my favorite Minneapolis venue the Dakota, all of the postponed shows I had purchased tickets to were rescheduled in a professional manner and have now all been fulfilled. I’m especially pleased to say patience really paid off this past Friday night as the Walter Trout performance originally scheduled for last October proved to be well worth the wait. I would say Trout summed it up best by telling the audience at the 9:00 show, “It’s good to be back out here playing music for you again after sitting on my a$$ for 2 years, as a matter of fact it’s good to be anywhere!” Approximately 7 years ago Trout miraculously returned to performing live after a lifesaving organ transplant surgery left him with no memory on how to play the guitar. While the challenges and struggle he surely encountered along his survival journey have come out in his songwriting and audience interaction, amazingly he is back to playing at a level that would make even many of his peers envious.
Upon taking the stage, Trout immediately started blazing through a series of solo runs that prompted his band of familiar players to launch into the upbeat shuffle on “I Can Tell”. The delivery was loud and exciting and provided the audience stacked full of established fans just what they had been waiting for. Trout’s touch on his signature model Delaney was confident, precise, and expressive. While known best for all he’s accomplished on guitar, his singing voice is also a key component to the band’s overall sound and was particularly good during “Say Goodbye to the Blues”, which was a standout.
In typical blues fashion, Trout did his part to pay it forward by inviting a couple of guest players to share the stage and take a solo or two. Local blues guitarist Ken Valdez did Minnesota very proud while joining in on “Hurts Like Hell”. He demonstrated great tone and held his own going toe to toe with Trout trading riffs and looking very comfortable in his element. Jackson Taylor Lee turned some heads on “We’re All in This Together” and was introduced as the grandson of an early bandmate Trout learned to play the guitar with. He demonstrated great natural feel and played with a ton of emotion. Trout utilized an extended version of “Red Sun” to introduce each band member [Teddy “Zig-Zag” Andreadis (keys), Michael Leasure (drums), John Avila (bass)] provide them some space to solo and finally close out the set. The band did return for an all-star encore of “Going Down”.
I Can Tell
Say Goodbye to the Blues
Hurts Like Hell
We’re All In This Together