Thorogood still ‘bad to the bone’

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First Posted: 3/23/2015

Brought to the stage like prizefighters, “the undisputed rock and roll heavyweight champions of the world” George Thorogood and the Destroyers gave the crowd at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts exactly what it wanted on March 20.

If you were looking for something new from the now 65-year-old classic rocker and his longtime backing band, you were definitely in the wrong place. But if you wanted to hear a collection of famous tunes played with the same precision and gusto as they have been for decades by a smoking hot band, then welcome to the party.

Thorogood and his Delaware Destroyers kicked off Thursday’s festivities with “Rock Party” from 2006’s “The Hard Stuff,” then went right into their knockout version of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” – even changing some of the lyrics to “the times in Wilkes-Barre can’t be beat.”

“Welcome to the Thursday night rock party, people,” Thorogood said before moving on to “The Fixer” from 2003’s “Ride ‘Til I Die” album, which was paired nicely with “In the Night Time,” from the band’s 1974 demo (which was released as “Better than the Rest” in 1979).

Next up was one of Thorogood’s signature songs, “I Drink Alone” from 1985’s “Maverick,” which led brilliantly into his classic take on John Lee Hooker’s “House Rent Boogie/One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”

After his 1993 hit “Get a Haircut,” with its memorable couplet, “Get a haircut and get a real job / Clean your act up and don’t be a slob,” Thorogood said, “I’m glad you people can appreciate sophisticated lyrics.”

“Gear Jammer,” another standout from “Maverick,” followed, then Thorogood and company did a fantastic version of Hank Williams’ “Move It On Over,” which they had transformed for their second album in 1978.

Thorogood then left the stage for a minute or two while the Destroyers kept playing, re-emerging without his guitar for “Tail Dragger.”

“How bad do you want it? OK, you got it,” he said as he played the intro to “Bad to the Bone,” the band’s most famous song that has been in scores of TV shows and movies since its release in 1982, which brought the main set to a fitting conclusion.

“You people are crazy – that’s why we love you,” Thorogood said as he returned to the stage amidst wild cheering and screams from the crowd.

“We have not yet begun to rock,” he said to even more cheers.

The Destroyers then brought the house down with an eight-minute romp through “Madison Blues,” the Elmore James song that goes all the way back to the band’s self-titled debut album from 1977.

“Goodbye everybody, God bless America and God bless Pennsylvania,” Thorogood said as the national anthem came over the loudspeakers at full volume.

Thursday’s show was opened by the Danielle Nicole Band, a quartet from Kansas City, Missouri, fronted by award-winning blues bassist Danielle Nicole Schnebelen, who previously played with her two brothers in blues-rock band Trampled Under Foot for about a dozen years.

Releasing her debut solo EP about a week prior to the Kirby Center show, the diminutive, left-handed bassist with the powerful, soulful voice scored big with “You Only Need Me When You’re Down” and “Starvin’ For Love” from her EP, and with new song “Burnin’ For You,” for which she brought out Destroyers saxophone player Buddy Leach.

“We’re gonna leave you now with a little bit of Led Zeppelin as I don’t know what else to do,” she said, before being joined by Destroyers guitarist Jim Suhler for a scorching version of “Trampled Under Foot.”