June 5, 2014
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Dave Gray
Photos by Michael Insuaste
Winger's Better Days Are Here and Now!
Kip Winger and company performed Thursday night to a packed floor of fans at Dallas Deep Ellum's Trees. In support of their current release Better Days Comin, and 26 years after the band's debut release, guitarists Reb Beach, John Roth and drummer Rod Morgenstein joined Kip onstage to take Dallas on a trip down Memory Lane.
Opening with "Midnight Driver" from the new CD, the band kept the set moving with heavy barrages of three or more songs at a time without interruption. "Rat Race", the CD's first single and video, was also proof that this band still has tons of energy. It's "fast pace", hooks and licks are reminiscent of the old days, when guitars, leather and spandex pants ruled the world.
The band also performed a few tracks from the underrated 2009 "Karma" CD. "Pull Me Under", "Stone Cold Killer", and "Deal with the Devil" are some of the best heavy rock songs written in the last five years, in my opinion. It was fun to see this band rip up these cuts in a live setting. As for Memory Lane, the band performed the hits from the MTV years. "Madalaine", "Miles Away", and "Seventeen" had the audience singing along, while Kip laughed and slapped hands with audience members. At one point, Kip handed the bass over to guitarist John Roth, and sat at the keyboard and played "Miles Away" and "Headed For A Heartbreak", which could easily be one of the best ballads ever written for rock radio in the 1980's.
This review would not be complete without mentioning the guitars. Reb Beach may simply be the best hammer-on specialist on the planet, while John Roth's "chicken pickin'" is a nice addition to the current package. Speaking of guitars, a special guest in the house was none other than Dallas' own Andy Timmons. So, during the encore, Kip summoned him to the stage and together the band performed the Beatles "Helter Skelter" and Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." The fans were also treated to a third encore song, where Metal Shop's Crash Gordon, a.k.a. April Samuels took to the drum kit and joined the band for a cover of Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love." Good times.