Chickenfoot Live!

Photo courtesy of Axeshredder.com
Photo courtesy of Axeshredder.com

I’ve been flogging the new hard rock supergroup Chickenfoot for months.  I reviewed the album.  I linked the “Oh Yeah” video on our Facebook page.

I bought tickets for me, Chris and the spouses when they went on sale.

Then we waited.

Circumstances required the spouses to drop out, but Chris and I made our pilgrimage downtown to the Verizon Wireless Theater on Wednesday night to catch The ‘Foot in all their glory.

Someone asked me this week what exactly Chickenfoot was.  Now, given the current state of “rock” radio (and I use that in the loosest of terms), its little wonder I sounded half crazed with my constant Facebook “FOOT” statusi.

In case you missed it, Sammy Hager, Michael Anthony, Chad Smith and Joe Satriani had a baby and they named it Chckenfoot.  That’s right, its half of Van Hagar, a Red Hot Chili Pepper and the guitar dude with the Silver Surfer fixation.

And let it be known my friends, they do rock.

Davey Knowles and Back Door Slam opened.  We last saw them last year opening up Kid Rock’s “Rock and Rebels” tour.  They’ve gotten a lot better.  They’ve added a keyboard and they’re stepped firmly into that rich history of bluesy British rock bands.  Knowles even name checked Peter Frampton as a favorite artist.  It showed.

After the requisite intermission, Chickenfoot took the stage one member at a time.  Once the entire band was on the stage they launched into the CDs opener, “Avenida Revolucion.”  Its one of the album’ s strongest tracks and really set the tone for the show.

The band then proceeded to blast through the 11 songs from the album and a couple that didn’t make the cut, including a bluesy New Orleans homage.

These guys were having fun.  Hagar was, as Chris pointed out, “doing what Sammy does best.”  That statement will either make you smile or cringe.  There is no middle ground.  Love him or hate him, Hagar is one of the consummate hard rock front men.  He worked the band, the stage and the crowd like he has been doing for more than 30 years.  You wouldn’t believe he’s in his 60s to watch him on the stage.

In Chad Smith, Hagar may have found his perfect foil.  Smith mixed it up verbally all night.  That’s in addition to beating the holy hell out of his drum kit.  Smith is one of the most underrated drummers in rock and with Chickenfoot he gets to show he’s got more than just “punk funk” licks.  He drove the band all night while peppering the audience with drum sticks.

I can’t decide if Joe Satriani is an android or an alien, but he is most certainly not human.  Some of the sounds he gets out of his guitar are simply unnatural.  Amazing, but unnatural.  He stood on his side of the stage shredding, apparently oblivious to the shenannigans taking place to his left.

And then there’s Michael Anthony.  That sentence might just encapsulate Anthony’s Hall of Fame career.   He kept the rhythm section solid, laid down his trademark harmony vocals and did what he has done since the late 70s, he was Mad Mikey.

Did I mention these guys were having fun.

They teased “The Immigrant Song” with Smith pummelling his kit like a Viking declaring war and Anthony handling the high vocals riff at the beginning of the song.  Alas, it was not to be.

What did happen was the encore.  Free of original Chickenfoot material, the band launched into a tremendous classic rock encore starting with Hagar’s Montrose classic “Bad Motorscooter.”  Then it was the show’s highlight, at least for me…a cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” with Satriani somehow simulating that song’s organ riff while still playing the lead.  The final song was “My Generation” which ended with Smith crashing through his drum kit ala Keith Moon.

If Chickenfoot is coming to your area and you like big melodic rock, buy a ticket.  If you’re a fan of any of the other bands these guys are members of, don’t go expecting a greatest hits show.  They’re a band and they’re playing their material.  Enjoy it for what it is.

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