Ron Wood and Bo Diddley: 6/21/1988

wooddiddley_6-21-88

Woody’s on the Beach may have been one of the coolest music clubs ever. Owned by Ron Wood (guitarist for the Rolling Stones and the Faces), it was a place where you could see amazing artists in an intimate setting, and you never knew who might show up.

Ronnie would frequently perform there with special guests, and Bo Diddley was somewhat of a regular. I tried to catch them together whenever they played. This particular instance, they were performing two nights, so I bought tickets to both shows.

Because Woody’s was a nightclub and the performances generally started late in the evening, many of the shows became a little fuzzy. But I have a clear memory of Ron and Bo on stage together, trading licks and basically having a great time.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to locate the setlist from this show. Check it out, and be sure to check back for my somewhat less fuzzy memories of the second night!

Cheers!


Setlist:

  • Mona
  • Ooh La La
  • Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
  • Seven Days
  • Too Late
  • Black Limousine
  • Diddley Daddy
  • Money to Ronnie
  • You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover
  • Lord Have Mercy

Johnny Winter: 6/29/1991

JohnnyWinter_6-29-91

I love Johnny Winter. As a guitarist, I am still in awe of his playing. That said, this concert was a bummer.

I went to this show with my friend Jim. We drove up from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. Summers on the Beach was a club located right on Atlantic Blvd facing the beach and the ocean. Generally, it was a pretty fun place to hang out.

This concert was in late June, and if you have ever been to South Florida in late June, you know the heat is brutally oppressive. There is no way to comfortably exist without air conditioning. This sets the stage for the scene which was to unfold at this particular show.

We all know that club owners are notoriously sketchy, but they were particularly so in South Florida. Anyway, it seems that the owner had a brilliant idea on how to boost sales at the bar—turn off the air conditioning. The packed club turned into a sweatbox. Jim and I stood there, dripping sweat, waiting for Johnny to take the stage.

When he finally took the stage, it was a disaster. Johnny was kind of tall, so his head was right near the low-hanging stage lights, which also give off a lot of heat. He immediately began sweating profusely and cursing, yelling at people about the intolerable conditions. He played a little, stopped, yelled at some more people, then played another song. Finally, in a fit of disgust after playing about three or four songs, he stepped to the microphone and said: “This is bullshit! I’m playing one more song and then I am out of here.” And that’s what he did. It was very disappointing. Thankfully, I would get to see the legend perform another time before he died, but that is a story for another time.

Rock and Roll!

B.B. King: 1/14/2012

BBKing_1-14-12

I feel pretty fortunate that in my life I have seen many great blues artists, and I am really glad I managed to see B.B. King before he passed away in 2015.

I got to see him at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, and although he was showing his age physically, he was still magic on stage. He did not play for a very long time, but it was the quality and not the quantity of the music that stands out for me.

I could try to expound on how influential he was, and how talented he was, but I would only be rehashing what everyone already knows. So instead, I will let the music do the talking. Here is a great video clip that my friend Robert took from this concert. Thanks B.B. for all your great music, and the thrill lives on.

Willie Dixon with Ronnie Wood and Bobby Keys: 11/10/1988

DixonWoodKeys

In the 1980’s, before Miami’s South Beach was the chic hot spot it is today, it was a collection of decrepit vacant hotels populated by drug dealers and prostitutes. It was also the place where old people from the northeast went to spend their last years. But then something happened. Ronnie Wood, guitarist from the Rolling Stones, purchased an old hotel and opened a nightclub called Woody’s on the Beach. It was the coolest place on Miami Beach at the time and it was a music-lover’s dream come true. Ronnie would invite music greats to come and perform in this intimate setting and would often join them on stage. It was my favorite place to go and hang out.

I have some really cool ticket stubs from shows at Woody’s, but this one is worthy to be my first Woody’s post. When I heard that blues legend Willie Dixon would be playing at Woody’s along with Ron Wood and saxophonist Bobby Keys (he played sax with the Stones, the Beatles, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, just to name a few), I had to shake myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I immediately ran out and bought a ticket for a whopping $10.

The show started with the house band, featuring Ronnie and Bobby. After a little while, they called the man to the stage. Willie Dixon came out, walking slowly, age and hard living clearly having taken a toll, but the energy that surged through the small club was palpable. He sang five songs with the band before he retired. The band continued for a while without him. I maintained hope that he would come back out, but no luck. Still, I got to see Willie Dixon! The man who inspired so many of rock’s elite.

Dixon died of heart failure on January 29, 1992. But his songs live on, because great music is eternal.