The Plaza Live
by Michelle Wilson of Rock Legends Photographers
Johnny Lang's performance at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida turned a humdrum Tuesday night into anything but ordinary, as he rocked the packed house with his unique brand of blues-soaked Christian rock. I have been fortunate to photograph and review many of Lang's productions, but there was something distinctly special about this one. Lang hammed it up for the camera, which was an added bonus indeed. With his gritty vocals and mad guitar skills, Lang has put forth quality presentations over the years, with a faithful fan base flocking to his shows. I felt privileged to be among them. Backed by stellar guitarist Court Clement, drummer Barry Alexander, bassist James Anton and keys player Michael B. Hicks (recently supporting Keb' Mo'), the high-energy, guitar-driven event cranked out for a full two hours.
Taking the stage at 8:45pm, Lang chose to open with one of two songs played during the set off his forthcoming album, slated for a late summer/early fall release. It was indeed a treat to hear new material and to learn that a new record is on the horizon. Lang mixed it up over the course of the evening, switching mainly between his Fender Telecaster Thinline and his Gibson 1958 Les Paul Standard reissue and performed tracks spanning his catalog, including "Blew Up the House," "Don't Stop," the fabulous Tinsley Ellis-penned "A Quitter Never Wins," "Turn Around," "Red Light," the Stevie Wonder classic, "Living for the City," "That Great Day" featuring a brilliant solo from Clement, the jazz-infused "Rack 'Em Up" and "Angel of Mercy" with an intense axe duel between Lang and Clement.
At 10:30pm, Lang surprised everyone during the first encore with a solo killer Muddy Waters cover (written by Bernard Roth), "Forty Days and Forty Nights," and absolutely slayed the guitar and vocals.
During the second solo acoustic encore of "Breakin' Me," with a decidedly Latin flair, Lang changed to his Martin J-40 acoustic and then halfway through the band joined him and segued into "Lie to Me." Lang opted for his Fender again and popped a string but continued to play, rounding out a phenomenal concert. Lang thanked people for coming out, and told us, "we have fun playing music together and sharing it with you." I sincerely hope he never stops having fun and sharing his music with the world.
Check out the full set of photos from myself and Michael Yanko of Rock Legends Photographers, and my full review of Jonny Lang's last album, 2013's "Fight For My Soul," at the links below.