Richie Kotzen @ B.B. King Blues Club (7/28/2009)

Many people know of the talented Richie Kotzen based on his work with either Poison or Mr. Big and while those two are to be commended there is really a lot more to the guitar player than we would ever hope to find in either of those bands. As July got ready to close it doors for August the musician would make an appearance at the legendary B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square. We made sure to be a part of the fun in order to share this report with you about how it all went down. Just scroll past the logo below to be taken to our item. It was truly a night to remember.

Logo - Richie Kotzen
Artist: Richie Kotzen
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Jimmy Kunes Band
Date: 7/28/2009
Label: Independent Artist

New York City is always a place with something cool to do and tonight the music fans of the region would find themselves with a choice to make based on two cool events happening in a relatively close proximity. It seemed as though eighties rockers Ratt and Extreme were playing a show at The Nokia Theatre while right around the corner a gig by guitar virtuoso Richie Kotzen was going to happen over at B.B. King Blues Club. I mused about how interesting it would have been to be a true Gemini and be at both gigs but I would be forced to choose as well and as result found myself inside the comfortable setting of B.B. King Blues Club ready to be entertained by the master axe slinger. Many fans of the band Poison might remember Richie Kotzen as being the replacement for C.C. DeVille back in 1991 and together with the band delivered one of the most musically sound recordings in the bands career with “Native Tongue”. He would move on from Poison and join Mr. Big but I must admit that I lost track of him since I never really kept up on what was happening in that band. This would not stop me from enjoying what was going to happen and I was very pleased to find that the venue had been very visibly sold out and while they had set up the tables there were plenty of people standing off to the sides of them raring to go.

I would miss the opening band based on some outside the venue networking that I was involved in and this depressed me in the sense that it was the Jimmy Kunes band starting off the night. Some Rock fans might remember that Kunes was not only the former singer of Savoy Brown but also the lead singer of a reformed Cactus. He has a great voice so I look forward to catching him do his thing soon since I missed out tonight. He also has Angus Clark in his band who is a journeyman axe slinger who also performs with The Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s West Coast Company.

Kotzen was already at it when I got inside the venue and I am guessing that I missed the first song and nothing more which was ok by me. He fronts a three piece group that finds the drumming of Demian Arriaga and bass styling of Daniel Pearson and the sound that was coming from the oft viewed stage was nothing short of amazing. This was not a full on Rock show like myself and some of the others generally convene at but one loaded with soulful guitar playing and an amazing level of heart. Richie was playing the instrument through his soul this evening and while I had to admit hardly knowing any of the material outside of one of two songs that he did, this didn’t seem to matter and everyone in the venue was wrapped up in just how amazing he was at this. He has a great voice as well and would be the perfect opening act for a show from The Black Crowes since I feel that their audience would totally dig into this sound. The mood was dramatic based on the subtle lighting and absolute silence from the crowd as he played and only when he would look up at the audience would the applause begin. He clearly had us all in the palm of his hand tonight. It’s never a bad thing when someone makes their first appearance at a club and goes over as well as this. They were smart is setting up a pre-show watch the sound check sort of thing because it was obvious that a number of fans took advantage of this opportunity and in essence saw an even longer performance from the guitarist. Among the many originals that he played I felt that I enjoyed the song “Socialite” the most and he would up the game of the original song by doing the most Blues-laden rendition of “Stand” by Poison that one could ever hear. I would have enjoyed seeing him rework some of the other compositions from this incredible recording but that was not to be the case this evening. Perhaps next time. He would deliver a stunning “All Along The Watchtower” which as most people know is a killer live tune when done correctly and then another surprise came when the musician offered up a cover of Hall & Oates radio classic “Sara Smile”. I didn’t see that one coming and I had to say that he sure did it justice.

He would close the night with “I’m Losing You” and one could almost feel the sadness as the night of music concluded. Based on the reception and reaction that he got tonight you know that he will return and most likely to this same venue since the setting is optimum for such a gig. All of his previous recordings along with that Poison album are available via and I-Tunes, and he will be releasing a brand new album entitled “Peace Sign” in the Fall. Richie will have a new album, entitled Peace Sign out in the fall. If you are a fan of amazing guitar work and a healthy dose of Blues-oriented Rock then you need to start supporting the talents of Richie Kotzen. When it all finished up I hardly remembered that I had interest in another show tonight and that’s what a powerful night of music does to a person. Great job Richie we wish you well and look forward to experiencing this again.

Set List:
1. Losing My Mind
2. A Love Divine
3. Fooled Again
4. Faith
5. So Cold
6. Socialite
7. Doing What The Devil Says To Do
8. Everything Good
9. Change
10. High
11. Stand
12. Remember
13. You Can’t Save Me
14. All Along The Watchtower
15. Sara Smile
16. I’m Losing You

After the show we were able to hit the backstage area to see what was going on and now present to our readers this inside look that not too many are able to get a glimpse at.  We hope that you enjoy these moments.  I apologize for not getting Richie’s name on the marquee for you all, but I was rushed to get inside as this event was  last minute scheduling for me.

Backstage @ B.B.’s near Richie’s Dressing Room

Fear not, because while this might look like nothing is really brewing back there we are looking at a different angle of the backstage and down the hall are the storage areas of a number of other shops down the street.   Fellow journalists should make note that down near the second white wall is a great place to do interviews if you can’t use the dressing room.  It’s quieter and let’s your recorder capture the details a lot better.

Mr. Kotzen in front of the B.B.’s backstage banner

I’ve tried to make it a practice of getting the artist to stand in front of the club’s banner whenever possible.  It’s not always easy to do of course and this great banner is located on the wall between the dressing room and the entrance to the stage.

Angus Clark & Richie Kotzen

The opening act for Richie’s show was the Jimmy Kunes Band and that groups guitarist was none other than Angus Clark who we have seen a number of times in various projects.  Angus is also a member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and performs as a part of their West Coast Company. Here’s another shot of the guys.

Another Glimpse of Angus and Richie

Continuing on, it was nice to see guitarist Rob Balducci dropping by to see Richie.  He was in the crowd tonight more as a fan but is a performer in his own right and has a number of solo albums.  Rob’s quite the player himself and I must get to one of his shows soon as I have not yet done this.

Rob Balducci & Richie Kotzen

I prompted Rob to toss me up some Metal “horns” but Richie seemed to be more the proponent of peace this evening so I would not get that from him.  One out of two is not bad so I was okay with that.

More Balducci & Kotzen

Here we see Richie signing some CD’s for one of his fans while Eddie Trunk looks on.  The popular radio host is a big supporter of Kotzen.

Here’s Eddie Trunk talking to Richie after the show about said show.

Having arrived a few minutes into the show myself, I was not sure if Eddie introduced him or did that kind of stuff at the nearby Ratt show that I did not manage to attend.

More discussions about what the show meant to him as s fan.

Eddie Trunk, Richie Kotzen & Jim Florentine

Eddie is the host of “That Metal Show” in addition to all of his other stuff and joining him for the Kotzen gig was one of his co-hosts, comedian Jim Florentine.  I felt this was a nice shot to snare.

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