George Thorogood and the Destroyers
July 25, 2016
Ocean City Music Pier, Ocean City, NJ
Preparing to see George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the Ocean City Music Pier in Ocean City New Jersey, I did an Internet search and typed: Is George Thorogood…. and Google finished the search phrase with the word Dead!
Now I realize it was the early ‘90’s when the band earned their last platinum album, on top of a previous platinum and six gold albums. However, I can assure you that George Thorogood and the Destroyers are far from dead! In fact, the band is celebrating 40 years of playing their infectious brand of blues influenced, boogie rock. Over the decades, the band released twenty albums and sold over 15 million albums worldwide.
Walking on stage at this quaint ocean front auditorium with sunglasses and a snakeskin pattern scarf wrapped around his forehead, Thorogood can still pull off being cool! Strapping on his signature Gibson ES-125, you know he’s ready for business as he opened the show with "Rock Party", a song you can’t avoid tapping your foot to. Next was "Who Do You Love". Soon after came "I Drink Alone" and "One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer." As his fans know all too well, much of Thorogood’s music is about partying and of course, drinking. It’s funny that the show was in Ocean City New Jersey, the only dry resort town in a State with over 125 miles of beaches. The irony wasn’t lost on Thorogood who told the crowd “everybody’s drinking bourbon, everybody’s drinking scotch, everybody’s drinking beer… but not in this town.”
It’s interesting to note that solos are not a big part of Thorogood’s guitar playing and he has been quoted as saying he prefers not to solo. Bandmate Jim Suhler who joined the Destroyers in 1999 handles much of the solos. Where Thorogood really kills it is his slide guitar playing. As soon as he placed the slide on his pinky, it didn’t come off for the rest of the show. All of his best slide tunes were played to perfection including "Get a Haircut (and get a real job", "Move It On Over", and the classic – "Bad to the Bone."
A George Thorogood show is a lot of fun. Not only is the music extraordinary and the performance filled with energy, but Thorogood manages to entertain his audience with his expressions, his movements and his comments. At one point, a fan yelled out “you’re great!” Thorogood paused for a moment, and said “I’ve always wanted to be called great.” He then told the crowd, “It took me forty years to get here, and I’m gonna enjoy every second of it.”
Returning for an encore, a fan shouted for him to play "Madison Blues" and he paused for a moment and said “That’s not what we planned, but since you asked, we’ll give it a try. If we screw it up which we won’t, it’s gonna be on you. If we get it right which we will, then it’s on us.” The crowd erupted in thunderous applause as the band closed out the night with a fiery cover of this classic Elmore James song.
The next time George Thorogood and the Destroyers pass through this area, I’ll be there knowing it will be another great show. I’m sure a large crowd of loyal fans will be right beside me.
Article and Photography By: Glenn Malmberg