What a class act night at Brewbaker's! I hadn't talked to Johnny in quite some time, so there was a wave of excitement in the air, and the place was packed to capacity. The show kicked into high gear with "The ShuffleCats Band" and "The Johnny 'O' & Fillet 'O' Soul Band. Both acts played superbly and deserve more recognition outside the midwest circuit.
I spent a lot of time backstage, and was waiting for Johnny to arrive. Winter doesn't really need any longwinded introduction. His brilliant and distinguished career speaks for itself. Johnny's history has been well documented in virtually every major periodical that I can think of-including the worldwide international media 'zines. As I write, I'd like to bring attention to some Winter rip-off artists that are currently selling bootlegs in CD format, in Europe as well as this country-and Johnny doesn't get a dime!
Winter took to the stage at 10:30 P.M., and played a 90 minute set. He has had numerous health problems over the years, and is nearly blind. I stood by the stage with a glass of ice water and watched closely. The crowd was jubilant and Johnny fed off of the vibe. By the third song his confidence was set, and he played his ass off-J.W. is no lightweight! He kept his pace and treated the audience to a nice slide attack. When his set ended, he was called back to the stage for an encore. The night ended in triumph. It was cold and raining as I walked to my car. I was alone, and wept quietly for 20 minutes-God Bless Johnny Winter!
This review is copyright © 2001 by Dick Houff, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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