Photo and Report by Joe Dolan
The crowd was lined up out front for this show at 7:30 pm. Most often at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, the floor is vacant until some time in the eight o’clock hour, regardless of who performs – but not tonight!
The gathering of talents for the Winery Dogs does make this a super-group by standards. The line-up features bass guitar legend Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, David Lee Roth, Talas) on bass guitar and backing vocals, Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob) on drums, percussion and backing vocals and virtuoso-esque six-stringer Richie Kotzen (also Mr. Big, Poison) on guitars and lead vocals.
Combined, these three artists alone have delivered work on more than 120 studio albums, not to mention their influential instructional CDs and DVDs, live performances and worldwide touring. Putting it all together, one would say that this band, in their first year alone, is representative of being a cornerstone in the current rock music industry. It’s true, they are that badass!
Taking the stage just minutes before 9:00, a literal eruption of tones blasted out the speakers like a night at the forum. The Canyon Club’s got some of the best indoor sound in Southern California, and this moment is exactly what that amazing room’s sound was designed for. Billy’s crisp stereo-bass tones combined with Portnoy’s on the mark drumming welcomed a packed house to a killer original set-list. Extremely well rehearsed, the songs the band has written, and recorded, are filled with elaborate rhythms and picture perfect notation – all of which the band performed, to the letter on stage.
The night’s set held 15 songs, complete with individual solos by the each of the instrumentalists, then an encore where they took the song “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” and made it absolutely their own.
(See the attached photo of the set-list.)
After the band had cleared the stage and some of the guests departed, Richie Kotzen came out front and took time to snap pictures and sign autographs with a big group of attendees. Backstage, Billy Sheehan was cordial with fans as he and his wife took the time to meet with friends and talk about the latest news regarding the band. Mike Portnoy was equally as kind, taking time to thank and meet everyone in the backstage area.
In attendance backstage were other musicians including August Zadra (Dennis DeYoung Band) and Phil Soussan (Ozzy, Steve Lukather), and in the crowd were friends and members of bands that have been onstage with each of the Winery Dogs players over the years. It was a big event, packed to capacity, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
If you want to see and hear some of the music you’ll experience when the Winery Dogs come to your town, click over to www.thewinerydogs.com. From their website you can find 5 new videos on YouTube, hear songs and buy the album direct through iTunes. The band also has a tour schedule on the front page to let you know when and where you’ll be seeing them in the next few months.