Don Wishon brings some of the best classic acts to Dallas/Fort Worth – Rik Emmett, Randy Jackson, BLACK STAR RIDERS, WISHBONE ASH, Eric Martin, ZEBRA – I could go on forever. He focuses on high quality shows and takes chances, and he’s generally rewarded with well-attended shows and new fans of the hard work he does. Saturday night’s show with Kip Winger at Poor David’s Pub was no exception.
First up tonight was Jonah Smith, the very talented singer/guitarist from THE AZALEA PROJECT. He’s a senior at Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School, but you wouldn’t know that he’s still a teenager with the sheer talent and ability that he brings to every performance. His voice is evocative of classic John Lennon, yet with a distinct sound that belongs to Jonah alone. He was equally at home on both the acoustic guitar and the piano tonight, and everyone who showed up early got a set that was soulful and just amazing. This was my second time seeing Jonah live, and it definitely will not be my last.
Next up was Michigan’s WAYLAND. They’re the true definition of a working band, logging 300 days a year on the road, and tonight’s appearance was a late and lucky addition as they had a night off between shows in Galveston and Little Rock. This was my first chance to hear them, and I really enjoyed the set – they have a definite 80’s era hard rock sound, with a hint of influence from southern rock and a little bit of modern country. Tonight, they went acoustic, and their music translated very well into that medium. The entire band are talented vocalists and they really impressed the crowd with their harmonies. I’ll definitely be picking up their music and will be sure to catch them with their full show the next time they pass through town.
During WAYLAND’s set, who comes and sits down next to us? The legendary Andy Timmons! He was really friendly and chatted with us for a while, and he also happened to have a guitar with him. Was this a hint at some awesomeness coming up?
Kip Winger came on stage with his signature turquoise acoustic guitar, plugged in, and after a quick warning to the crowd that he likes to talk a lot, ripped right into the WINGER classic “Easy Come Easy Go”. He didn’t slow down for the next hour and a half, splitting his set pretty well between songs from WINGER’s hits and his solo albums, digging into some deeper cuts from the latter. He had a lot of fun with the crowd – a member of the audience join him onstage for “Miles Away”, he posed and joked with the photographers, and established a great relationship with the audience, even borrowing an asthma inhaler from someone at one point.
Andy Timmons? Yup. Near the end of the set, he invited Andy onstage, and he accompanied Kip on a couple of songs from Kip’s first solo album This Conversation Feels Like A Dream. Andy’s playing on “Here” and “How Far Will We Go” really put an exclamation point on the evening – he pulls bluesy emotion from his electric guitar like nobody else in rock, and it complemented Kip’s playing perfectly tonight. After Andy left the stage, Kip wrapped up the evening with a few more songs, including his standard closers, “Madalaine” and “Seventeen”, and the performance came to a close.
After a break, Kip came out and spent a lot of time meeting all of the fans, signing autographs, and taking pictures. That’s one of the great things about the artists that Don brings to town – they’re here because they really love playing shows like this for small crowds, and they go out of their way to connect with the fans during and after the performance. Go out and support live music and keep shows like this happening locally and across the country!
LIVE WORDS AND PHOTOS: FRANK ZABER/IMAGES FROM THE DARK