By Anita Stewart, Journalist and Chyrisse Tabone, Photographer–Rock At Night Tampa Correspondents
Venue: Capitol Theater on March 14th, 2017
Very hip and rowdy oldsters that “only come out at night” went wild!
FLASHBACK: to April 2nd, 1971 and this writer seeing Edgar Winter’s White Trash opening for Alice Cooper’s very first music tour (after the mainstream hit, “Eighteen”) at the legendary Curtis Hixon Hall across the bridge in Tampa. (Curtis Hixon Hall was razed in 1993 to make way for the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park that is located in the shadows of the Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art and the Tampa Riverwalk.)
It was a wild night and a late one; “altered states” was a mild understatement for all of us Clearwater High School students that were sitting together, perhaps 30 of us. This show was a few years before Edgar Winter’s second band’s watershed album They Only Come Out at Night had been released. I remembered a sophisticated set that included blues, rock, Southern rock, jazz, acid jazz and a combination of all of the above. I had already been a fan of Edgar’s brother, blues guitarist, Johnny Winter for several years, but added Edgar Winter to that special list of esteemed and prolific musicians that I had to see and hear live whenever possible. Even back then and having less musical knowledge, I thought he and his band, White Trash should have been the headlining act.
The Capitol Theater is the perfect venue to see a show. In an old movie theater that has been remodeled and had its name changed several times, this was the first movie theater in downtown Clearwater and possesses quite a history. I remember the days of Midnight Movies back in the 60’s and 70’s and films such as Rocky Horror Picture Show, Reefer Madness, Disney’s Fantasia and more. Now converted and with enhanced acoustics, this theater hosts great musical acts from the past all the way up to current times. (Our only disappointment with the evening were the tres cher prices of the beer and wine.)
FLASH FORWARD: Rick Derringer and his band took the stage promptly at 7:30. The band consists of just three; Rick, his bassist, Charlie Torres and his drummer, Kenn Moutenot and they rip and play like there are six of them with no back up, brass or keyboards. Just pure unadulterated rock and roll! They ran through the hits, “Hang On Sloopy” which was a number one hit in the 60’s when Rick was with the McCoys (this hit kicked the Beatles’ “Yesterday” out of the number one spot in the charts). Then “Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo,” “Free Ride” and more. Rick Derringer’s influence within the music industry is legendary as he was the only producer of the gold and platinum recordings by the Winters brothers throughout the years. He played with both Johnny and Edgar and did music tracks, production work and other collaborations for a multitude of other artists sometimes spanning through multi-genres to include jazz and Christian rock. Halfway through this set, Rick and the band gave a grateful tribute to our men and women in uniform.
Edgar Winter and his band were amazing as they ran through the catalogue of music and Edgar would reminisce and tell short stories between the songs to set each one up. From jazz to rock, to pop to blues, there is no genre that Edgar can’t play. What is remarkable is his ability to switch instruments in the middle of doing a song, from keyboards, to guitar to drums to sax and back again. Edgar was the first to develop a strap for keyboards to allow him to move with high energy across the stage while playing and the first to feature riffs from a Moog synthesizer in a song. Musically trendy and always on the cutting edge, Edgar has one of the tightest bands ever and gives credit to each musician on the stage with him. All of them were given a chance during the performance to spotlight their playing. Koko Powell on bass (loved the orange bass), Doug Rappoport on guitar and Jason Carpenter on drums rounded out the sounds on songs like “Frankenstein,” a major hit, “We All Had a Real Good Time,” “Turn On Your Love Light” and “Tobacco Road,” dedicated to Edgar’s brother Johnny who left us in 2014. Rick Derringer also joined in for a bit during the set. Edgar did some call and response scatting with his vocals and the other band members as they riffed, really quite incredible! We at Rock at Night want MORE! This was a great show!
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