Artist: Richie Kotzen featuring Mike Bennett (drums) and Dylan Wilson (bass)
Venue: The Baked Potato, Studio City, CA.
Date: January 9, 2016
I have a shirt that says, I may be old but I got to see all the cool bands. This band is not only “cool”, as in we are here to rock and we’re glad you came to watch but their chemistry on stage is frankly, unmatched. I’ve seen lots of legends over the years so I have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about. When these three guys get up on stage together…..well, the dictionary defines magic as: a power that allows people to do impossible things by performing special actions; A special power or skill….so that’s what happens when they are on stage together…MAGIC!
Words honestly can’t do justice to their performance, audio or video recording either. The vibe, the electricity, the buzz is that intangible that takes a show like this over the top. Do you love music and want to get high? No chemicals needed, just show up!
I’ve seen this band do about a dozen shows and I have never seen them this relaxed, loose and straight up having a blast. Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith showed up to watch and he couldn’t have picked a better night. This band was on fire from the the opening track, Fear from Richie’s 2006 release, Into The Black. Did I mention that Richie was doing two sold out shows on this night? Yes, two shows which is why I won’t attempt to go track by track, show to show. Rest assured, that what I’m telling you happened at some point during one of these shows…at my age sometimes things kind of “blend” together…Ha!
Richie played songs that are staples in his solo live shows like, Remember from the 2004 release Get Up, Bad Situation and Help Me from the 2011 release 24 Hours and High from 2003’s Change CD. The highlight from the first show for me was the performance of What Is from 1998’s release aptly titled, What Is. I had never personally seen Richie perform this live and it was a spectacular version, nicely done guys!
Between shows, I had an opportunity to chat a bit with Richie. He was animated and funny and again so relaxed…good stuff.
The second show is where things really took off. Right from the get go, Richie starts noodling around on his Telecaster and the says, ” Fuck it, let’s play Layla”. He then rips into the intro to Layla….He caught Dylan & Mike by surprise…at least that’s what the look on their faces said. OK, no Layla. Are we having fun yet? OHHH YEAHHH. The CD, Into The Black was well represented in this show as well by, You Can’t Save Me, which I believe is the only Richie track to receive the Parental Advisory Award for lyrical content….the F word but hey, it’s used in context and to good effect…no one was offended & left the club…trust me.
Long Way From Home and Peace Sign from 2009’s Peace Sign release were performed. Everything Good from Richie’s alter-ego Wilson Hawk’s 2009 release also made the cut. What a fantastic song and he really pulls it off live…two thumbs up! Someone suggested he play Fooled Again (me) from 2007’s Go Faster CD. They did and they tore it up…good suggestion!
So it’s approaching 1 am., and we think the show is over. The guys are on their way off the stage but we weren’t done. A little coaxing and the OK from Justin and we were treated to another legendary Richie Kotzen/Baked Potato performance of the Hall & Oates song Sara Smile.
In summary, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen by anyone. These three guys are so good together it’s mind boggling. It is my opinion that if you haven’t seen them in a small club like this…you haven’t seen shit….you better get to it!
Article/photos by Steve Amaon (musicnracin)