The Stevie Ray Vaughan Experience @ Dollar Cinema – November 23rd 2018

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I must admit, I am not a very big fan of cover bands. If I have seen the original, then the copycat usually disappoints me. Sure Beatlemania was a great show but it’s more of a musical than a concert. I have been fortunate enough to catch some truly brilliant performers over the years who are no longer with us (eg. David Bowie)

If you had told me 35 years ago that I would be going to see Paul McCartney perform in 2018 I would never have believed it. However, there are so many fantastic musicians that left us too soon.

So, last week this ad popped up in my newsfeed for The Stevie Ray Vaughan Experience at Dollar Cinema and I was intrigued. I had bought the “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” CD when it first came out in the mid-80s but when tragedy struck on August 27, 1990, my chance of ever seeing one of the most influential guitarists of all time, was gone forever.

Feeling adventurous, I figured that I would check it out. The venue wasn’t too far and there was free parking. Did I mention there was a bar? There could be worse ways to spend a Friday night.

As soon as the band hit the stage it was clear that they were very accomplished musicians that have been playing together for a long time. They truly loved and respected the art and took their gig very seriously. The lead guitarist and singer, Dave Ryan did his best to channel the spirit of the late, great SRV as he took us on a deeply magical, bluesy journey. He went as far back as to play a few Jimi Hendrix tunes since SRV was also inspired by Hendrix. In addition to the classic “Voodoo Child”, he played the hell out of “Little Wing” and then tore the house down with his explosive version of “Purple Haze.”

They also covered all the favorite hits like “Couldn’t Stand the Weather”, “Pride and Joy” and “Cold Shot” which got the crowd going. And in between songs, Dave shared some interesting facts about SRV and the stories behind the music. When he introduced the sweet and slow instrumental “Lenny” he informed us that Stevie had written it for his wife. He also told us how Stevie never played the same track the same way because he always felt every note in that moment. As his Fender Stratocaster replicated the haunting twangs of his long gone guitar hero, the entire room was transported to another time and place.

The SRV Experience is not just a cover band, but a group of dedicated musicians who have the uncanny ability to represent and bring forth that intangible essence that is blues rock.

Review – Annette Aghazarian

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