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Live Review: Chickenfoot wants to party. Do you?

Joe Satriani and Sammy Hagar of Chickenfoot (All Photos by Bill Bungard)

by Darrell Fortune  

When Chickenfoot comes to town, they wanna party!

And they did their best to get the party hopping Wednesday night at the WaMu Theatre. Although Sammy Hagar and company were packing a double-shot of fun, the mostly middle-aged crowd just couldn’t get it up. After all, they had to be up early as hell for work in the morning.

There were moments when Sammy Hagar got something from the crowd…or maybe it was the bottle he and Michael Anthony were sharing. Either way, it was still a fun night of straight-up rock with masters of the craft.

The Different Devil Tour is aptly named, as certain aspects seemed to come straight from Hell. Widely considered one of the finest singers in rock history, Hagar struggled with the vocals at times. There were startling moments when he attempted to stretch into places he just can’t reach anymore, and he was off-key during certain numbers. He came across more like a surfer dude straight off a Cabo beach than The Red Rocker. It didn’t help that WaMu Theater is known for its less-than-superior sound quality, so the sound was occasionally muffled. Although the light show was pretty standard, it was sometimes overdone and distracting.

The real star of the show was the band.  Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony and Kenny Aronoff (filling in for Chad Smith,  touring with Red Hot Chilli Peppers) were tight and sounded great. Thundering bass lines, complex drum fills, and hot rhythms were continually laid down while Satriani soared with his exceptional guitar work. Anthony’s backing vocals perfectly complimented Hagar’s, even outshining him at times.

Predictably, most of the banter between songs was about … being in Seattle. Hagar reminded Satriani that this is the hometown of Jimi Hendrix, who was probably looking down on him as he played, “So don’t screw it up!” As Satriani rolled through some impromptu  Hendrix licks, Hagar wondered how Hendrix would feel about Satriani’s playing – concluding that Jimi would dig it and want to jam. “How much would you pay to see that?” Hagar shouted. That earned the biggest roar of the night.

All things considered, it was a fun concert. The band performed a satisfying set; it just wasn’t spectacular. They appeared to feel the lack of energy of the audience, and it took a while to get things cooking. Once they got there, it was smoking hot – but it was Satriani’s guitar wizardry that gave the show its most magic moments.

Chickenfoot has no need to re-invent the wheel – they just want to rock and have a good time. Mission accomplished.

Kentucky band Black Stone Cherry opened the show.

Not only is he a multi-media journalist, he is also an accomplished musician. He is the founder of SMI and drives the creative look, feel and branding for the publication. His years of writing, arranging, and performing live music in a variety of genres inform his ability to communicate the message and the mechanics of music. Roth’s work on SMI reflects his philosophy that music is the universal language, and builds community. He believes it has the power to unite people of every race, religion, gender, and persuasion.