Going to be a busy week – the only nights I’ll be home are tonight and tomorrow, and that’s through Monday. But last night was worth it, because I got to see amazing guitarists, all performing the work of Jimi Hendrix. As I walked into Constitution Hall, there was a sign up that Jonny Lang would not be performing due to a family emergency. That was not upsetting to me, as he wasn’t even in my top 5 of the guitarists playing. What was disappointing was the sign said Corey Glover (from Living Colour) would be there, and he didn’t show.
Still, the night was packed full of musicians. To kick things off, Eric Gales (I’ve liked some of his work, particularly “Resurrection”) played “Foxy Lady” with Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, who are also known as Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band. Andy Aledort (Hendrix guitar instructor) played bass for “May This Be Love”, then Double Trouble reformed to play with Mato Nanji (from Indigenous) on a smoking “Little Wing” and “Hear My Train A Comin’”. I wasn’t familiar with him before, but he’s definitely someone to watch. Some guy I must not have caught the name of correctly came up next (because Curtis Dangler only gets 3 hits) to sing “Spanish Castle Magic” (edit: it was Kurtis Dengler) with Robby Krieger (guitarist for the Doors). They had a little audio problem with the drums, so Chris Layton got in a short solo before Noah Hunt (singer for Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band) and Andy Aledort joined the group for a nice take on “Manic Depression”.
Next came something I was looking forwards to, as the rhythm section was comprised of Jimi’s band members, Mitch Mitchell (drummer for the Experience and Cry of Love) and Billy Cox (bassist for the Band of Gypsys and Cry of Love). Mick Taylor (guitarist for the Rolling Stones) joined them, Noah Hunt and Robby Krieger for what should have been a nice run through “All Along the Watchtower”, but it was a trainwreck, mercifully stuttering to a stop after a few minutes. Mitch Mitchell apparently doesn’t have much interest in keeping a beat anymore, which is pretty crucial. Just Mick Taylor remained on stage with Mitch and Billy for a slow take on “Catfish Blues” that was somewhat better, but then Andy Aledort and Curtis Dangler (edit: Kurtis Dengler) returned to sing “Stone Free” and left me wishing for the end.
I was cheering (on the inside) as Double Trouble returned to join Noah Hunt and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on a blazing romp through “I Don’t Live Today”, “Voodoo Chile” (not the famous one, that was later) and “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)”. Next up, Buddy Guy and his band took the stage for some blues classics (only some of which Jimi played, but it’s Buddy Guy, he does what he wants). They opened with “Mary Had A Little Lamb” (I’m most familiar with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s take), then had Hubert Sumlin (guitarist who worked with both Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters) join them for “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Five Long Years”. Buddy and Hubert have a lot of respect for each other, because it showed as they traded licks, pretty good for a pair of guys in their 70s.
The number one reason I wanted to go to the show was to see Robert Randolph, the pedal steel prodigy I’d seen join the Dave Matthews Band a couple years back, take on Hendrix. He joined Buddy Guy along with Mick Taylor and Mitch Mitchell (thankfully not as noticeably bad with another drummer) for some nice solos during “My Time After Awhile” and “Drowning On Dry Land”, astounding even Buddy. After that Buddy Guy’s band left (except the drummer), and he had left too, but returned one more time for an epic “Red House”, with Billy Cox on vocals, and Robert Randolph, Andy Aledort and Chris Layton. I thought “Purple Haze”, with Robert Randolph singing and playing his heart out (with Andy Aledort and Double Trouble) would be the highlight, but that was before Noah Hunt and Kenny Wayne Shepherd joined them and started trading solos during “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”. The furious, ecstatic ending made the crowd go nuts, and was worth the price of admission on its own. They were running late, but Noah Hunt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mitch Mitchell, Robby Krieger, Buddy Guy’s keyboardist and Double Trouble came back for a quick encore of “Hey Joe” to cap off the night.