George Thorogood resembles Chuck Berry on speed at Vancouver’s Expo 86


john scully photo


By Steve Newton

George Thorogood likes to claim that he’s “Bad to the Bone”, and last Monday (September 1) at Expo Theatre the rockin’ bluesman from Delaware delighted a sold-out crowd with his don’t-mess-with-me style and down ‘n’ dirty boogie tunes.

Like Chuck Berry on speed, Thorogood would duck-walk across the stage, do some dizzying spins, and then hop down into the crowd while pulling off his rowdy renditions of tunes by people like Hank Williams (“Move It On Over”), Willie Dixon (“I’m Wanted”), Elmore James (“Madison Blues”), and John Lee Hooker (“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”). He’s added a second guitarist to his bass/drums/sax outfit as well, which allows him more freedom to jump around.

Thorogood’s raise hell attitude on stage always rubs off on his fans, and when he brought out a chair and sat down, poking fun at the crowd for not getting to their feet, that was it–everyone on the floor stood up on their seats and people jammed their way to the front of the stage. Young men hopped on stage and played air guitar before being tackled by roadies.

One nervy fellow even managed to get to Thorogood’s drink, which was sitting on the drum platform. But before he could raise the concoction to his lips, a roadie ran into him and the drink went splashing all over the stage floor. At this point the Thorogood show started to look like a real rock concert–not one of those reserved affairs that the Expo Theatre security normally try to enforce.

Opening the show for Thorogood was the Colin James Band. James is the young blues guitarist/vocalist that Stevie Ray Vaughan took under his wing and toured with for a while last year, and when you hear James play, you know right away what Stevie was so excited about. Playing at Expo’s 86 St. cabaret until September 14, he’s a thrilling guitarist, and his backing band really kicks butt on tunes by Howlin’ Wolf and Roy Brown. There’s a very good chance that James will be Canada’s next real guitar hero.

Or maybe even the first.

Have we had one  yet?

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