Jonny Lang opened the Lake Tahoe show with “Blew Up (The House)” and when it was over he had done just that.
The soulful performance gained intensity and passion with each teary note Lang squeezed out of his three guitars. It reached the crescendo during the final encore song – “Lie To Me” — when concertgoers in the sold-out MontBleu Theatre who had first sat up straight, then moved to the end of their chairs — many raising their hands in praise as if they were in church — finally stood and cheered.
As the crowd exited, the word “wow” could be heard repeatedly. Many wiped their eyes.
Jonny Lang and his immaculate bandmates blew up the house. And, wow, indeed, they did so with just 10 songs, although it was a fulfilling and nearly two-hour-long concert.
It was Lang’s fifth time to Tahoe in the last decade or so, the first in MontBleu, the largest Stateline indoor venue. The set list has not changed much. Rather than tinker with it, Lang goes deeper into the songs with precise guitar solos, sometimes bright and crisp, other times distorted. He sang the same way, hitting soft and high tenors or full, raspy tones. Charles Jones’ keyboard added to the gospel flavor.
It certainly was a spiritual display, but Lang didn’t preach. Instead, he told his story of salvation and he did so with a most convincing veracity. There are guitar faces and then there is the visceral emotion Lang expressed. It is incomprehensible that he could put so much intensity into every show.
Lang showed his appreciation to the audience but he didn’t speak much, instead letting the instruments do the ad-libbing. Nashville’s Court Clement played rhythm guitar and was featured on a couple of cool, extended solos. “Tattooed and Employed” drummer Brian Alexander displayed both a powerful resonance and a gentle touch, and the new guy, Andrew Perusi, beamed with happiness underneath the greatest white-man ‘fro since John “Fuzzy” Oxendine played with Moby Grape.
If concertgoers consider blues to be all about truthfulness and emotion, then they’d still call Lang a bluesman. But there were no 12-bar shuffles on this night. While “Kid Jonny Lang” came on the scene as a teenage blues sensation, the now 35 year old with a Mohawk has a style all his own. As he always does, Lang covered Tinsley Ellis’ anthemic blues masterpiece “A Quitter Never Wins” as well as a bluesy “Forty Days and Forty Nights.” The rest were soul, rock and funk from the guitar star on the last stop of a tour.
Up next, Lang will go on the annual Experience Hendrix tour, an homage to another superb guitarist who had a singular style with a most authentic delivery.
Editor’s note: Visit photographer Kurt E. Johnson’s website HERE
- Jonny Lang
MontBleu Theatre, Stateline, Nevada
Feb. 13, 2016
Blew Up (The House)
Don’t Stop (For Anything)
A Quitter Never Wins
Red Light, Everything is Going to Be Alright
Living for the City
This Great Day
We Are The Same
Forty Days and Forty Nights
Lie To Me
- Experience Hendrix 2016
Jonny Lang, Billy Cox, Zakk Wylde, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, Dweezil Zappa, Ana Popovic, Keb Mo, Doyle Bramball II and many more
Feb. 24 – Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida
Feb. 25 – Ruth Eckert Hall, Clearwater, Florida
Feb. 26 – Florida Theatre, Jacksonville, Florida
Feb. 27 – Fox Theatre, Atlanta
Feb. 28 – Gaillard Center, Charleston, South Carolina
Feb. 29 – Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville
March – Brady Theater, Tulsa, Oklahoma
March 3 — Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie, Texas
March 4 – Majestic Theater, San Antonio
March 5 – Bayou Music Center, Houston
March 6 – Saenger Theater, New Orleans
March 8 – Fox Theater, St. Louis
March 9 – Riverside Theater, Milwaukee
March 10 – Riverside Theater, Milwaukee
March 11 – The Fox Theater, Detroit
March 12 – Chicago Theater, Chicago
March 13 – Taft Theater, Cincinnati
March 15 – Hard Rock Casino, Northfield, Ohio
March 16 – Landmark Theatre, Syracuse, New York
March 17 – Oakdale Theater, Wallingford, Conn.
March 18 – Kings Theater, Brooklyn
March 19 – Borgata Casino, Atlantic City
March 20 – Mid Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY
March 22 – Count Basie Theater, Red Bank, New Jersey
March 23 – Hanover Theatre, Worcester, Massachusetts
March 24 – Zeiterion, New Bedford, Massachusetts
March 25 – Hampton Beach Casino, New Hampshire
- Jonny Lang Band
May 19 – Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, Bloomington, Indiana
June 21 – Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, Maryland
June 26 – The Flying Monkey, Plymouth, New Hampshire