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Chickenfoot in Houston With Photo Gallery

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Tuesday, September 29, 2009 @ 6:51 PM

At Verizon Wireless Theater

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Pronunciation: \sü-pər-grüp\
Function: noun
Date: 1968
: a rock group made up of prominent former members of other rock groups; also : an extremely successful rock group

If ever there was a band that fit the definition listed above, then Chickenfoot is it. I know from reading some interviews that the guys put off the notion that they’re really a supergroup. The fact is, however, that by definition, they ARE. The fact that the individual members, Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Chad Smith, prefer to shrug off the moniker simply gives away their character. Every one of these guys is a class act and a great musician and collectively they try to remain humble.

Chickenfoot strutted into Houston for a show at the Verizon Wireless Theater downtown on September 16. This show was much anticipated by me and, by the appearance of things, several thousand other rabid ‘Chickenheads’ as the place was pretty well populated. Now I’ve seen Hagar before, both solo and with Van Halen and have seen Anthony in Van Halen numerous times, both with Roth and with Hagar, but have never had the opportunity to see the Satchmeister or Chad Smith perform, though I’ve been a big fan of Satriani’s abilities. The opener for this tour was Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam. Now if you’re like I am, then you probably had no clue who these guys were, which would certainly explain why they were an opener. But the band was actually quite good. Davy himself looked to be no older than about 25, but he could definitely play and he and his band performed a nice 45-minute set of jamming blues-oriented rock.

No offense to the openers, but I was there to see Chickenfoot, and at 9:15 sharp the lights dimmed and this iconic group of musicians took the stage, kicking the set off with the first track off their debut CD, ‘Avenida Revolution’. The guys were full of energy and I gotta say that I don’t think I’ve seen a band so relaxed and having SO much fun! No tension, no stress, no forced musical output, NO EGOS, just straight up in-your-face rock like it was meant to be played. There were smiles, laughing and carrying-on aplenty to be had amongst the members who acted as though they were playing a private party for a few thousand close friends. Sammy has always been that way, at least every time I have seen him. He goes out of his way to interact with the crowd and that enthusiasm definitely spilled over to his band mates. Though the band’s set consisted of only 13 songs, they managed to stretch that out into a good 1 ¾ hour set, which incidentally contained no Van Halen , Chili Peppers, Hagar or Satriani material at all. The pre-encore list included every song off the Chickenfoot CD except ‘Runnin Out’. Then they also played a track not on the CD, ‘Bitten by the Wolf’ which, if my memory is correct, they just wrote recently. The only non-Chickenfoot material they played came during the 2-song encore, which was comprised of ‘Bad Motor Scooter’ and ‘Highway Star’. Hagar remarked near the end of their evening about the reason why they created the group. ‘We formed this group simply to play the kind of music we grew up with’, he said, then thanked the crowd for supporting them and helping them to achieve Gold Record status. He even quipped, ‘I haven’t had a f*&%ing Gold Record in 10 years!’. He also mentioned that at their hotel they managed to run into the one and only Britney Spears, who also happened to be playing a show in Houston at the Toyota Center that same night, to which Hagar said ‘I bet that girl’s done more drugs than I ever have!’.

The sound quality of the show was top notch and each of the members’ instruments could be heard equally and sonically and they blended perfectly. Satriani was, well, Satch-like and drummer Chad Smith was just all over the skins. He must have one nice endorsement agreement with whoever supplies the man’s drumsticks because in all my years of watching concerts, I have never seen a percussionist throw out so much lumber to the crowd. Seriously, the guy had to have thrown out 40-50 sticks during the course of the show. That’s right, 40-50! During some tunes he would only use a stick for about 5-10 seconds, throw it out to the crowd mid-beat and never missed a note!

By the time most of you read this the tour will be nearing its end so if you haven’t caught them yet, you missed out on one whale of a show. No pyro, no fancy special effects, just 4 guys who obviously love playing music and playing live. An incredible show for sure!

Chickenfoot Set list:

  • Avenida Revolution
  • Sexy Little Thing
  • Soap on a Rope
  • My Kinda Girl
  • Down the Drain
  • Bitten by the Wolf
  • Oh Yeah
  • Learning to Fall
  • Get It Up
  • Turnin’ Left
  • Future in the Past
  • Bad Motor Scooter
  • Highway Star

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