Live From Clearwater on Saturday Night – Hagar, Thorogood and Fowler
Under the October Hunter’s full moon, the Sound at Coachman Park had over 6,000 music fans witness a lineup of great musicians! From Tampa’s own Damon Fowler to George Thorogood and the Destroyers with their bluesy rockabilly & rock sound and the headliners Sammy Hagar and the Circle. Hagar, who just celebrated his 76th birthday has been around since 1973. His first band was Montrose, as lead singer to the late Ronnie Montrose’ amazing guitar licks. Then as lead singer with the Van Halen brothers and his current band’s bass player Michael Anthony, his hit solo career, the super group Chickenfoot with Joe Satriani, Chad Smith, and Anthony and now currently with The Circle. The sold-out show brought an arsenal of hits from Thorogood and Hagar with recent music from Fowler.
Damon opened the show with an acoustic set sans his usual band. Just this week it was announced that his newest release, “Damon Fowler, Live from the Palladium” is being considered for a Grammy nomination. The album was recorded at The Palladium Theatre in downtown St. Petersburg. Fowler has been playing around Florida for years, he is no overnight hit. He acknowledged gratitude to George Thorogood for taking him along on his tour as an opening act. He played an excellent 20-minute set. Keep your eye out for Damon Fowler playing around the Tampa Bay area.
George Thorogood is celebrating his 50th anniversary on the “Bad All Over the World- 50 Years of Rock tour. He walked on stage in black jeans, t-shirt & headband with the Destroyers opening with “Rock Party.” Boogie rockin’ through “Shot Down’ and “Night Time.” The audience was up dancing in the aisles. Then came those fun hit sing-along drinkin’ songs, “I Drink Alone” & “One Bourbon, One Shot, One Beer.” Great guitar licks from George and the Destroyers were a tight machine. He played his 1993 hit cover of “Get A Haircut” which is a staple on his setlist. He closed his show with that monster classic “Bad to the Bone.” George Thorogood A fantastic way to get ready for Sammy Hagar and the Circle!
I will not lie to you reader; I am a fan of Sammy Hagar. I have been a fan ever since I heard the first Montrose album when I was fifteen. It has always one of my favorite shows to photo when Sammy comes to town. Opening with Sammy’s hit “There’s Only One Way to Rock” brought the crowd to their feet. Next came Van Halen’s “Poundcake” with former VH member Michael Anthony on bass, guitar beast Vic Johnson paying homage to Eddie Valen’s riffs with his own style. Hitting the skins is that Zepp son, Jason Bonham. The onstage antics are always happening at a Hagar show. Sammy playing with a drill on Vic’s guitar and playfully coming at Michael’s head started early into the show. The 1982 Sammy solo hit rocker “Three Lock Box” was on the setlist. Hagar wrote the Montrose hit “Rock Candy” and lucky for this Montrose fan, he performed it flawlessly like it was 1973!
Sammy’s Redheads were out in full force and tossing gifts on stage for Sammy or merch for him to sign, which he does throughout the show. Sammy was loving playing The Sound for the first time and being outside in Florida after having just played in wintry weather. One of the highlights of the show is a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock & Roll” with Sammy on vocals and Jason Bonham on drums, whose father John played on the original. Speaking of Bonham, he will be back with his Led Zeppelin Evening. FYI, they are playing at the Hard Rock Tampa Events Center on November 9th. The Van Halen cover of “Right Now” is still so relevant today as it was in the days of MTV and a favorite VH tune. No Sammy Hagar setlist is complete without that hot rod anthem, “I Can’t Drive 55” and everyone singing the chorus heard all the way to the Capitol Theater. A surprise song was The Circle’s “Father Time” from their latest album “Crazy Times.” As Sammy put it, “It’s about getting old, and nobody is getting around that. They closed with Van Halen’s “When It’s Love.” Sammy, Mike, and the band are keeping the Van Hagar era of Van Halen alive & well. A great night of music in Clearwater! Check out Sammy at Red Rocker For info on Damon Fowler his website is Damon-Fowler
Vicky Sullivan Photos