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It’s Thorogood’s microphone and he’ll do what he wants to

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George Thorogood played Saturday, July 25, 2009, at Star of the Desert Arena in Primm.
Photo: Allison Duck

George Thorogood performing with Jonny Lang can’t even be billed as the old guard and the new guard of bluesy rock because Thorogood performs like a 30-year-old, and at 28, Lang has been in the game for half of his life.

Lang, a blues guitar prodigy in the ‘90s when he started as a teenager, opened the show with a high energy set filled with hits like “I Am,” “Red Light” and “Living for the City.” This version of “Red Light,” which Lang and his band kept at a slower tempo than usual, was the most impressive live performance of this tune I have ever seen. Leave it to Jonny Lang to write a thought-provoking love song about a traffic signal.

The band ended their set with a 15-minute rendition of “I Am,” giving each performer time for a solo before returning the spotlight to Lang for the final chords before George Thorogood came to the stage.

“It’s my microphone and I’ll do what I want with it!” George Thorogood addressed the crowd partway through his set at the Star of the Desert Arena when fans began clamoring early for his classic, “Bad to the Bone.”

George Thorogood and Jonny Lang @ Star of the Desert Arena

A bandana-clad Thorogood took the stage with The Destroyers and cranked out hit after hit like “Night Time” and “I Drink Alone.” Having an arena full of people all singing the lonely man’s anthem, “I Drink Alone,” might have diminished the song’s impact, as fans to clinked plastic beer bottles during the chorus. Nevertheless, the hit, whose titular line was emblazoned across the chests of a large fraction of those in attendance, was a crowd pleaser.

During “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” Thorogood took the time to deliver a public service announcement. The singer, who claims he’s not a scotch fan, beckoned the ladies to “come dance with Georgie.” While taunting the cougars with his dance moves, Thorogood issued his PSA: “This is a public service announcement from The Destroyers. Don’t drink and drive. Get your buddy to drive you home. Or your girlfriend. Or your buddy’s girlfriend.”

The show was rife with funny and slightly inappropriate lines like this, which only added to Thorogood’s appeal as the ultimate badass. At 58, he hasn’t lost his lust for the ladies, nor has their desire trailed off.

“His signature raspy voice has held up so well through the years,” Jan Dutcher, a longtime fan, remarked. So has his signature swagger.

But it wasn’t all rock ‘n’ roll posturing. Thorogood threw in a pitch for his band’s new album The Dirty Dozen, hitting stores tomorrow. The album, which will also be released on vinyl, will feature six new songs and six fan favorites, several of which have been previously unreleased in the United States. He treated the crowd to one of those songs, a cover of Willie Dixon’s “Tail Dragger,” which he performed with the necessary tail wagging and dragging motions.

To finish things off, Thorogood came out for an encore wearing a fresh black Destroyers shirt and performed “You Talk Too Much,” as men shook their fingers at their significant others while chanting the classic line. After thanking the crowd, Georgie mock passed out on stage, then – revived by members of his band – before the bluesman offered up a peace sign and left the stage behind.

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