Jonny Lang was one of a few Blues performances at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI. The 75-minute set started off with the funky Don’t Stop (For Anything) which really showcased the entire band’s playing including Jonny’s powerful vocals. Fans were also quick to notice that Jonny’s performance was just as much of a visual experience as seen by his various facial expressions as he strummed and played every note.
The weather during their performance was a scorcher, but the band continued on with the title track from the latest album, Signs and A Quitter Never Wins from 1997’s Lie To Me which had a super tasty jam at the end. Dare I say, it was smokin’! They played Snakes, another new song and Jonny made a point to not only introduce everyone in the band, but he also called out some of the various names of the crew. A lot more goes into a show than just the performers on stage, so to hear recognition for all parties involved says a lot.
They slowed it down a bit with Red Light but fans were still very much engaged. While a lot of the focus was knowingly on Jonny’s playing during the set, guitarist Zane Carney held a bit of the spot light before the start of their cover of Stevie Wonder’s Livin’ For The City. In fact, throughout the song, Jonny and keys player, Tyrus Sass also took their own moment. Such a fun song.
While Jonny has long been known for his guitar playing, his performance of Still Rainin’ made a long and lasting impression. The fact that a song released 20 years ago still sounds as fresh today as it did back then is a true testament of his song writing capabilities. There aren’t many 4 p.m. time slots that I’ve seen get an encore, but the entire band left the stage and a couple minutes later, Jonny walked out, alone, with an acoustic guitar to play a very stripped down and heart-wrenching version of Lie To Me. There is nothing more powerful than a man with just an acoustic guitar and his voice. Towards the very end of the song, the band came back out and they finished the song plugged in and the audience were more than satisfied based on their loud clapping and cheering.
At the end of that set, it didn’t matter if you were a new fan or had been there since the beginning of his career, Jonny Lang and band gave the audience a very memorable performance of songs spanning Jonny’s long career. The level of talent and musicianship on that extremely hot late afternoon stage at Summerfest will be remembered for days to come.
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