KING’S X will always, ALWAYS be a special band for me. In 2013 when A&GS was barely a month old they were the first band I ever covered in an official capacity. By that I mean, I actually was credentialed with a ticket and photo pass as well as an onsite interview with bassist/singer dUg Pinnick. This was also the very first interview I ever did, and I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. But dUg made me feel very at ease, and the show was incredible.
So here we are in 2018 and I was catching the band live for the first time in five years. That is FAR too long to go without seeing KING’S X, a sentiment I’m sure anyone who’s a fan would agree with. Once again I was at Sellersville Theater and once again I was greeted warmly by none other than manager Paula J. Hogan. This woman is a true professional and one of the most real people you can find in an industry full of sharks. Thank you for all you do, Paula. Now, on with the show, yehhhs?
The house lights dimmed and dUg Pinnick, Ty Tabor (guitars/vocals), and Jerry Gaskill (drums/vocals) took the stage. “Welcome to the Groove Machine” kicked off the festivities and we were off and running! Next up was “The World Around Me” from the self-titled record. dUg’s voice was in fine form, and you could just see and feel the magic that happens when these three guys plug in and play together. Oh, and let’s talk about how loud the audience got when it came time for the chorus of Dogman’s “Pillow”, huh? This is such a rabid fanbase, and I am so proud to be a part of it.
Sticking with the same record the boys then played “Flies and Blue Skies.” Anyone who truly knows me also knows that this is an absolute favorite of mine, and getting to hear it live again gave me goosebumps. The harmonies are gorgeous, and Ty does some of the best guitar solos in his arsenal on this one. “Vegetable” brought some funk to the party and of course it turned into an extended jam, something that is bound to happen at a KING’S X show, and that’s a good thing. “Cigarettes” was the third track from Dogman (not that I was complaining!), and again, was glorious live. I could listen to dUg sing for hours and hours, especially with his delivery on a song like this one.
A trifecta of killers was next with “Pray For Me”, “Black Flag”, and “Lost In Germany”, jkand all three had the place going nuts, your humble narrator included. It was time to slow things down again with “A Box.” This is another favorite, and it never fails to move me to tears when they play it. On this particular nighty it reminded me of a friend who passed away two years ago, so the tears were good ones as I thought of so many memories with him (R.I.P. M-ROD) and I could feel his presence.
The minute Ty started the first few notes of “Summerland” the fans lit up like a Christmas tree. How can you not love that? And now it was time for Maestro’s A-1 All-Time Favorite Tune with “Over My Head”, also from my favorite album, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (as is “Summerland”). Trust and believe, I was the loudest guy in the fucking room when it came to singing. I have this one on so many playlists, and it’s just an incredible song that I don’t think I can ever get enough of. Honestly they could do it live ten times in a row and my enthusiasm wouldn’t waver one bit. THAT’S how much I love it! The guys were locked in a groove and showed no signs of stopping, that’s all I know.
“Go Tell Somebody” is another powerhouse of a song when performed live, and the lyrics couldn’t be more accurate: “If you like what you hear then, go tell somebody!” This is so true. You’re passionate about a band? TELL THE WORLD!! That’s how music gets spread, bands get fans, and attendance goes up at shows in this godforsaken digital age. The regular set closed with “We Were Born to Be Loved”, one of those songs I call a “Jawdropper.” They don’t miss a beat or drop a note.
The encore started with “King” from debut album Out of the Silent Planet. This was a first for me, and quite frankly I went a little batshit. I couldn’t believe I was hearing this live! “Dogman” was next, and everyone ate it up like candy. Such a killer track, especially live. The show ended with “Goldilox” and by now you know what happened. They turned the mics toward us fans, and we sang. We. Sang. Every. Single. Word. The whole time dUg is smiling, and pounding his chest over his heart, looking over the crowd, silently saying, “Thank you.” Every time this occurs all I see is a look of absolute joy on his face.
A KING’S X concert never fails to leave me in awe. These men truly put on one of the best rock shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen hundreds. I always come away thankful; thankful I get to do what I do, sure, but thankful this band exists. And that 30 years later they are still going strong with no signs of stopping. The chants of, “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” after many of the songs is a testament to just how faithful and devoted these fans are, and that just makes me smile even bigger. August 26 was a night for the ages, and I’m so glad I got to be there. By the way, Donna Lyn who handed me my credentials for this one? Super-nice and a sweetheart, so I had to show her some love here. All people who work at concert venues should be as nice as her.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: THE MAESTRO