Concert Review: The Winery Dogs at Gas Monkey Live!

The Winery Dogs at Gas Monkey Live!

With just two albums under their belt, The Winery Dogs are already being hailed as the saviors of rock ‘n’ roll and the new generation of supergroups. Their electrifying concert Saturday night at a jam-packed Gas Monkey Live! in Dallas turned all the hype into reality.  

The Winery Dogs consist of Richie Kotzen on guitars and vocals (Poison, Mr. Big), Billy Sheehan on bass (Steve Vai, David Lee Roth) and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold) on drums. Unlike other supergroups, this band fires on all cylinders with each member utilizing their talents to full potential on every song, not just individual solos. At any time during Saturday night’s concert, one could zero in on a particular band member and be completely mesmerized by their performance. Sheehan’s bass playing was so aggressive that I was expecting his bass guitar to snap in half at any moment. Kotzen’s fiery guitar licks with no pick had me expecting to see blood dripping from his fingertips. Last not but not least, Portnoy’s enthusiasm behind the drum kit was a joy to watch.

The Winery Dogs started their show with two new tracks, “Oblivion” and “Captain Love.” Though the songs were just released on the album Hot Streak a few weeks ago, you wouldn’t have known it by the crowd’s reaction. Both songs had the audience singing along so loud that it drowned out Kotzen’s vocals. By the time the group got to the album’s title track it was apparent by the energy in the building that indeed The Winery Dogs were on a hot streak.

Richie Kotzen of The Winery Dogs at Gas Monkey Live!

Other songs that had the Gas Monkey Live! crowd roaring with approval were “Empire” and “The Other Side.” Both songs featured blistering guitar work by Kotzen along with energetic endings that had everyone in the building moving some part of their body. Just as impressive as his guitar playing are Kotzen’s introspective lyrics and amazing vocals. Both had a chance to shine when Kotzen performed a solo acoustic version of “Fire” and the organ-driven “Think it Over.” The latter showcased Kotzen’s R&B and soul influences. The song concluded with a gripping falsetto high note that Kotzen held for several seconds as the crowd held their breath, captivated by the beauty of the moment.

Billy Sheehan of The Winery Dogs at Gas Monkey Live!

Another part of the show that had the crowd watching along in amazement was Billy Sheehan’s bass solo. In short, it was masterful. Lasting several minutes, Sheehan paced the stage while frantically fingering his bass, producing sounds that no one would think possible.  

Mike Portnoy of The Winery Dogs at Gas Monkey Live!

While Sheehan’s solo led to several dropped jaws, Portnoy’s drum solo led to plenty of smiles as he dragged out a little Hello Kitty drum set. Banging wildly on the set, Portnoy then continued his solo by banging his sticks on the stage floor and then on the video camera in the pit that was capturing the excitement for fans in the back of the venue. 

The Winery Dogs wrapped up the main set with the hits “I’m No Angel” and “Elevate.” Indeed, it felt like the band had taken live performances to a whole new level. But surprisingly, it was the closing song of the night that solidified the band’s supergroup status. On record, “Desire” is a hard rocking tune. While the live version started out that way, The Winery Dogs extended the song into an all-out Motown and James Brown jam piece with Sheehan providing some of the lead vocals. It was another magical moment that had the band coming together as a whole and redefining the true meaning of supergroup.

What did you think of the show? Share your thoughts with Classic Rock Blog!

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3 Comments on Concert Review: The Winery Dogs at Gas Monkey Live!

  1. Jenks Smith // July 11, 2016 at 4:27 pm // Reply

    My son and I went to the Gas Monkey to see the Dogs. Wow! I saw them in Fort Smith last year, and this concert was off-the-charts fantastic, just like the Fort Smith show. What can I say that hasn’t been said about these guys…nothing. Three of the greatest musicians in the world on stage playing their absolute asses off. Simply a jaw-dropping show. I hope to see them again someday.

  2. It is not often that you have the opportunity to see a band you really want to see in a venue you really want to visit, that is why I traveled from Louisiana to see this show with my wife, eighteen year old son and sixteen year old nephew none of which are prog metal fans. They were not impressed with Kicking Harold and neither was I so I was starting to get worried if this might be a ” Can we go now?” wasted trip. The Winery Dogs thrilled and entertained all the way. My wife was very taken with Billy Sheehan but the boys bitched about his sole-o running a little long not understanding the talent and skill that goes into a performance of that caliber. I am not a spiritual man but do believe there was divine intervention that brought the bad weather that caused the change of venue to the Live stage, that opened up a VIP table that allowed my old fat ass to sit and enjoy one of the best live shows I have ever seen.

  3. BIG TOM WILCZAK // October 26, 2015 at 7:31 pm // Reply

    DITTO ON WHAT YOU SAID, BUT i HAVE KNOWN BILLY SINCE TALAS HERE IN BUFFALO, n.y. HIS ROOTS. I HAVE SEEN BOTH OF THEIR GIGS HERE FIRST AT THE HARD ROCK CAFE NIAGARA FALLS, NY. THEN THE FOLLOWING YEAR AT THE TRALF IN DOWNTOWN bUFFALO, i LIVE IN THE BURBS OF bUFFALO, BOTH VENUES, i AND MY FRIEND mIKE HAD v.i.p. TICKETS. FREEKIN’ aWESOME

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