‘Mont-Blew’ — Jonny Lang’s explosive show in Lake Tahoe

Jonny Lang
Jonny Lang is flanked by Clark Clement, left, and Charles Jones during a spiritually uplifting performance Feb. 13 in the MontBleu Theatre in Stateline, Nevada..
Tahoe Onstage images by Kurt E. Johnson

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.

Jonny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-368-XLIt 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
    Turn Around
    Red Light, Everything is Going to Be Alright
    Living for the City
    This Great Day
    We Are The Same
    Encore
    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

    Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-363-XL

    Andrew Perusi
    Andrew Perusi

    Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-299-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-298-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-297-XLJohny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-185-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-180-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-74-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-33-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-15-L Jonny Lang carousel Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-530-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-524-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-508-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-505-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-503-XLJohny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-467-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-458-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-432-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-426-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-404-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-400-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-395-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-385-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-381-XL Johny Lang @ Montbleu 02-13-2016-379-XL

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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