March 11, 2014
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Paul Dowidchuk
Photos by Kerry Langford
Experience Hendrix Tour 2014
Guitarist Pay Tribute To The One And Only Jimi Hendrix
The Experience Hendrix 2014 Tour rolled into town and made its DFW appearance at the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas. This exclusive event, on its 19th year, has now become one of the most anticipated guitar events of the spring. Opening the concert was bassist Billy Cox and his Band of Gypsys as they kicked off the show with "Stone Free" along with Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, who took the seat behind the drum kit. They quickly warmed up the crowd with "Message Of Love" and BOG's "Machine Gun." This would be the beginning of a solid evening of Jimi Hendrix classics that would be performed by various contemporary guitar legends.
On deck was Dweezil Zappa who joined Billy Cox for a great version of "Freedom." As expected, Dweezil played some tasty licks and if you listen closely you could hear the influence of his late father, Frank Zappa. From there the night progressed with another guitar slinger, Eric Gales. If you have never seen Eric Gales play live on stage you are truly missing out on an amazing musician. He took control of the Verizon Theatre stage with his rendition of "Foxy Lady" that brought the crowd to their feet. It was such a highlight of the show, it felt as if they turned up the amps, which always adds a nice extra punch.
From one song to another, one musician after another, the stage was now graced by Texas’s own Eric Johnson who dazzled us with "Power of Soul." Dweezil Zappa also joined Eric for a few numbers and you could clearly see the fun they were having playing together and trading licks, especially during the classic "Manic Depression." On vocals was Kenny Wayne Shepherd's main man Noah Hunt, with his strong vocals took the song and made it his own.
Who knew Zakk Wylde was a keyboard player? The monster of heavy metal guitar riffs that are normal for Zakk seemed a distant contrast to his keyboard playing as he kicked into "Are you Experienced" with Eric Johnson on guitar. Totally unexpected. It wasn't long before Zakk picked up his axe and start shredding on "Purple Haze," which had the sold out crowd on their feet once again. After all that jam, it was time for an intermission.
By now the show was in high gear as another favorite son of Texas blues, Doyle Bramhall ll, made his appearance and performed "Hear My Train A Comin'." as well as "Angel," "Hey Gypsy Boy" with Mato Nanj and "In From The Storm" with Noah Hunt on vocals. Doyle is a top notch musician who has played with so many contemporary guitarists from Eric Clapton to Roger Waters and many musicians alike. By far one of the favorites on this tour!
The second part of the show had a surprise guest, guitarist Brad Whitford of Aerosmith. He joined Jonny Lang for and inspiring version of "The Wind Cry’s Mary." With slight technical difficulties, and what seemed to be a bit of a tuning issue, Brad had to switch guitars to get back in the groove. A small glitch that stole a spot of energy, but the music continued.
As the show ran down, Louisiana native Kenny Wayne Shepard came on strong and by now the highlight of the night. Kenny and Noah Hunt where on key as they are known to performed several classic Hendrix songs one of which is "Voodoo Child." Their confidence and energy completely commanded the stage. Standing ovation after each song.
The show closer', Buddy Guy, joined Kenny Wayne and Noah to perform Jimi's first big hit "Hey Joe." The jams came full circle as Billy Cox joined Buddy as they played an awesome version of "Red House" and for a moment in time, the only two players who had actually played with Jimi, rocked the house and reminded us why they were there paying tribute to the legendary music of Jimi Hendrix.