Winery Dogs

PlayStation Theater / New York, NY

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All Photos By Jim Belmont 

Saturday night, October 10, at the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, New York City, The Winery Dogs, on the first leg of their tour in support of their second album, returned to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

Launching into “Oblivion,” the ferocious opening cut from their new release, Richie Kotzen (guitar, keyboards & lead vocals), Billy Sheehan (bass & vocals) and Mike Portnoy (drums & vocals) hit the stage, delivering a hard rock tour de force to an enthusiastic packed house.

Fronted by Kotzen’s smokey, soulful voice, the trio played a tight, rousing set showcasing spectacular musicianship, though never at the expense of the songs. New standout tunes like “Captain Love,” the instantly classic “How Long” and the rhythmic propulsion of “Hot Streak” kept heads bopping and fists pumping, and first album fan favorites like “Desire” and the night’s closer “Elevate” kept them singing along. All of this was juxtaposed with heartfelt ballads like “Regret” and Kotzen’s emotive solo acoustic guitar rendition of “Fire.”

It’s amazing how in concert the highly individual sound and styles of each member contributes to the band’s sonic big picture. Billy Sheehan’s superhuman inventiveness on bass, coupled with drummer Mike Portnoy’s explosive percussion created epic musical interplay with guitar slinger Richie Kotzen’s  amazing bluesy vocals. He is one hell of a singer. And not one to disappoint, Sheehan treated fans to his now legendary mind blowing bass solo. His skills are truly a wonder.

Sonically it was a great house mix, crisp, well balanced and never muddy. Each member had a larger rig this gig, enhancing their already massive sound. It was great to see and hear Portnoy reveling in a larger, expanded drum kit this tour. All in all, a great sounding performance; this is what live music is supposed to be.

– Ray Laracuente

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