Billy Squier and G.E. Smith entertain a sold-out crowd with stories, the blues, and some classic 80’s hits.
This has been a year for classic rock heroes stripping down their bands and performances, sharing their stories and simplifying their songs for intimate gatherings in smaller venues. Being able to share these small spaces with artists who were used to selling out arenas back in the day is a real treat. These moments don’t happen often and when they do it is imperative to partake and support these musicians as they really enjoying spending up close and personal time with their fans.
G.E. Smith, whose expansive musical background with The Saturday Night Live Band, Hall and Oats, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, and many more, opened the evening with three solo tunes. Interacting with the crowd and setting the tone for the evening by bringing the jams slow and steady, G.E. got right down to it with only his guitar, his amp, and his voice, and they were all synched and in tune. This man has such a history in the business, it was a true pleasure to see him in this setting.
After some enticement from G.E., Billy Squier emerged and the two travelled down the road of musical history together through stories about their careers, guitar legends, and an enjoyment of playing their instruments. No question about it but these two fellas really appreciate a good conversation, love to share stories and bounced back and forth all night long. It was very obvious throughout the performance that Billy is a huge fan of the blues. He shared about John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers being such a big influence on his musical style and playing, and when he met Eric Clapton. From Clapton to Peter Green, both hugely influential guitarists were part of the ongoing dialogue throughout the show.
The pair began their set with “Ramblin on My Mind” by Robert Johnson. The flow of the evening seemed to go some blues songs, some Billy Squier hit songs, some blues songs, and covers and some Billy Squier songs. It made for an interesting evening of music, and the boys were having a good old time. It was a sold-out show, and the audience kept their ears tuned to the music, and listened very intently to the stories that were being shared. Billy joked that it was almost like being in his living room at home, except with a few more seats.
“Cross Road Blues” was another Robert Johnson song that featured G.E. playing some lovely slide guitar. These guys bring so much talent to the table and a fair share of guitars. Swapping between Fenders and Gibsons, the genre of music was being upheld in the style and sound of traditional blues. It seems that most guitarists have favorite guitars that they play in order to present a specific sound, and G.E. has his go-to Tele and a sweet little ’54 Gibson Junior he really loves. A few others on the list of covers for the evening came in the way of Little Feat’s “Rock and Roll Doctor” and Freddie King’s “The Stumble.”
The most interesting song of the concert was “The Stroke.” G.E. joked about how everybody knew the meaning behind the song, even though Billy was trying to pass it off as a song about the music industry. But Billy discussed how the song was really a blues song, and they played it as such. It worked and was a brilliant rendition of the classic hit.
Other highlights were “In the Dark,” “Pursuit of Happiness,” and a super funky version of “Everybody Wants You.” Billy had the crowd rocking during this song and everybody was sharing in the singing of the chorus. Ending the night with “Too Daze Gone” and “All Right Now” by Free, the two-hour show could have gone on easily for another two hours.
Billy’s voice sounded incredible, and his guitar playing was spot on. G.E. and Billy sounded awesome together and there is no doubt they share great, great talent. To have been around and viable in the music industry for so long speaks volumes about their work ethics and aptitude towards the music. If you are able to catch this duo, make sure to put it on your list.
Event Date: 01-May-2018