Thorogood Thoroughly Destroys Crowd, Creates Fan For Life
I've seen George Thorogood shred through his catalogue of hits so many times that I almost take for granted how truly masterfully he plays guitar. To see him play is like watching history being made. Once you reach that status, what else is there?
For Thorogood, 67, having reached those highs, he now reaches back, this time to a 12 year-old guitarist at a backstage moment that will live with this kid for the rest of his days. I'm here to tell you that I watched a guy who is so real, so alive, and such a pro that he in one motion identified this kid to his road manager while calling for some props to make a memory for him beyond the typical photo-for-Facebook moment.
We are standing in the pre-arranged location for the backstage meet-and-greet before the show at the Rhythm City Casino when George walks in to thunderous, if not premeditated applause. Immediate showman, he begins working the small crowd of gathered fanatics, including 12 year-old Elijah and his grandparents. Elijah is a budding guitarist, there to see one of his inspirations. But Thorogood doesn't know that. He just catches the kid in the corner of his eye, and with a subtle gesture to his road manager, calls for a wristband and guitar pick for the youngest member of this backstage troupe. All the while, he is graciously entertaining the rest of us--being the Destroyer we've come to expect. While we're laughing, he's concocting the soon-to-be greatest memory this kid will ever have. I was so lucky to be there and see this.
Jimmy, his road manager of the last 2 decades plus, comes in and slides the items in George's hands with a magician's skill, at which time George turns his, and our, attention to the boy. "What's your name," he asks. "What do you do?" Elijah, as quietly as any 12 year old in the presence of greatness might be, answers that he plays guitar. Thorogood, as if the two of them had been long time friends hanging out, asks him, "You any good?"
We are loving this interaction--the fans, George, and mostly Elijah. I won't go into too much detail about their conversation, or George's advice, because those moments belong to Elijah. However the interaction they had will most certainly be among the inspirational moments this 12 year-old will fall back on throughout his playing career, wherever it takes him.
What struck me was how connected Thorogood was to his influence on this kid. And how great he was with him. He knew the impact he was having, and wielded his power with amazing precision. I was awestruck more at this George than any I've seen onstage. He taught me volumes about how to treat people in that one moment. And here I thought I had already finished learning. Bad to the Bone, he is.
Thorogood personalized his show by having 97X all over his stage. Thanks for the shout out!