Friday, April 14, 2017

The Rides at St. Augustine Amphitheatre

April 9, 2017
St. Augustine Amphitheatre
St. Augustine, Florida

by Michelle Wilson of Rock Legends Photographers

One of the huge perks of living in Florida is the plethora of quality entertainment offered year-round at various outdoor venues throughout the state. The beautiful St. Augustine Amphitheatre, with its accommodating staff and welcoming vibe, played host to The Rides and Buddy Guy at an event that flowed like a well-oiled machine. The weather was pristine, the music was stellar and the crowd was spectacular. 

The Rides took the stage at 7pm, with Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd alternating on lead vocals and guitar, Barry Goldberg on keys, Chris Layton on drums and Kevin McCormick on bass. The band pumped out a killer 80-minute blues-rock set of 11 songs plus one encore, with heavy focus on their second and latest album, Pierced Arrow, but also highlighting three tracks off their first record, Can't Get Enough, including the title track, "Roadhouse" and a Willie Dixon cover famously recorded by Elmore James, "Talk To Me Baby." 

Pierced Arrow was well represented with six cuts including "Kick Out of It," "Riva Diva," "By My Side," "Game On," "Virtual World" and "I've Got to Use My Imagination," co-written by Goldberg and Gerry Goffin and featuring dueling Fenders and a killer solo from Shepherd. The Rides had performed it on their first tour and then opted to record a more modernized rockin' version than the Gladys Knight and The Pips chart-buster of 1974, which paid off because it was nothing short of brilliant. Shepherd did quip that "we don't sound like The Pips," which got a hearty chuckle from the audience. Stills also had the fans laughing with his story about writing "Virtual World," a commentary on today's social scene and how people are always plugged into their electronic gadgets. Stills suggested that if you're out to dinner, order "The Emergency Pint." If your dinner date is more focused on the phone than the conversation, the second time it happens, plunge the phone into "the black ale, 'cause it's rude!" I think everyone could relate! 

Rounding out the set with an incredible version of Shepherd's "Blue on Black" followed by a rocked-out, high-energy take on the Stills classic, "Love The One You're With," which really showcased Goldberg on the Hammond B3 and even McCormick's bass lines, the band took a brief pause and barely stepped to the back of the stage, only to return and finish it off with Stills' anthemic classic, "For What It's Worth." The crowd was on its feet, dancing, singing along and loving every moment of it. Stills even handed out guitar picks to some lucky folks up front. 

With so much musical history, experience and talent on one stage, it was indeed a treat to enjoy this set from The Rides. They were the perfect double-bill with Buddy Guy, and anyone could see what a tight band they are and the respect they have for one another. They genuinely enjoyed jamming together, and it comes across in their show.

See more photos taken by Michelle Wilson and Michael Yanko at the link:

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