Edgar Winter

Count Basie, Red Bank, NJ

On the night of July 20, Edgar Winter and Eric Burden performed at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank NJ, and I had the absolute pleasure of seeing them.  I have a strong love for old time rock and roll, but I am 16 so when I walked into the concert and saw all the older people sitting in their seats I was very nervous that the night was going to be a bust.  I looked around and people in their 60’s were wearing tube tops, cheetah pencil skirts, tie dye tank tops and had crazy looking hair.  Then, the lights went out and Edgar walked on stage.  That’s when everything changed.  Edgar walked out with his long, white hair flowing behind him that changed colors with the flashing lights.  The music was immediately loud and hard which got the audience going crazy.  Then he slowed things down a little bit with a tribute to his deceased brother, Johnny Winter, by performing “Tobacco Road”.  The whole crowd melted to the smooth and soulful playing of Edgar’s saxophone.  Afterwards, the show was brought right back its original intensity when “Free Ride” came on.  Everyone jumped up clapping, hollering, whistling and jamming to the music.  Edgar performed with the ferocity of a 19 year old which translated right into the crowd.  Suddenly, I didn’t feel like the youngest one in the theatre anymore.  Everyone had come to enjoy great music, and that’s exactly what they got.  Edgar gave one of the best performances I have ever experienced.  His voice was strong, and he hit high notes that shocked the crowd.  Edgar’s guitar, bass and drum player were all wickedly talented and the band had great chemistry.  Edgar had the whole crowd laughing when he played a little game with his band where he would sing a progression of different sounds that the player was to emulate on their instrument.  It was clear that everyone in the theatre loved Edgar.  Finally, he stopped the music to give himself a shout out for being the first person in music history to put a strap on the keyboard.  Everyone stood up and yelled in anticipation because they knew what that keyboard meant, Edgar was going to play his legendary “Frankenstein”.  No man has ever looked cooler than Edgar holding his keyboard.  The crowd was going ballistic as the end of the show approached, and when the lights came on every one was smiling and ranting about how great Edgar still was after all his years of performing.  If you ever have the opportunity, I highly recommend buying a ticket and going to see one hell of a performance from Edgar Winter.

After Edgar walked off the stage the energy in the room changed a little bit.  It wasn’t a bad change but some of the younger audience members had left and the crowd was a lot calmer.  I was on the edge of my seat being a diehard Animals fan and all, but I began to suspect that most of the people there had come mostly for Edgar.  Boy was I wrong.  Eric’s band began to play “Spill the Wine” and the crowd immediately jumped up.  Eric came out onstage dancing and wearing a shirt that was louder than the music.  However, his old man looks were deceiving because when he began to sing his voice was exactly as it had been when he was 20 in The Animals.  It was loud, powerful and nostalgic.  His voice had the same deep and distinct sound that had made The Animals such a great band.  When I closed my eyes, it was like I was thrown back into 1960 to one of Eric’s first ever performances.  Then, the night really began to pick when Eric began to perform tribute after tribute to famous artist like Bo Diddley, David Bowie, Three Dog Night and Led Belly.  “Space Odyssey” “Mama Told Me Not to Come” “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” all great hits after great hits.  Then Eric began to play the Animal’s most famous songs and I could feel the excitement all around me.  The show came to an end with “Don’t Let me be Misunderstood” and “House of the Rising Sun”.  Both songs sounded incredible and the entire audience stood up freaking out over the magic they had waited all night to hear.  Once Eric and the band walked off, everyone in the crowd stayed standing and cheering for another two minutes straight.  Eric walked back on for a standing ovation performance.  Then “We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place” began to play and I probably screamed louder than anyone in the whole theatre because that is my absolute favorite song.  I was ecstatic because Eric had performed the song better than I could have ever imagined.  The band walked off after the standing ovation and the rest of the crowd (including myself) remained screaming for the possibility of a second one.  But, the lights came on and the night was over.  Edgar and Eric put on the best show I have ever seen and there was not one negative thing I could say about the night.
Lauren Morgillo

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