The Magic of The Blues

Jonny Lang

House of Blues - Los Angeles

November 4, 2003

First Appeared at The Music Box, December 2003, Volume 10, #12

Written by Michael Cooney


They came in droves and packed themselves into the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. There were twenty-something girls with their midriff-baring shirts and navel rings. There were grandparents, and there were mothers and fathers with their adult children. There were music industry professionals and accomplished musicians. Everyone had come to see Jonny Lang. In a music business drowning in a morass of over-inflated egos and over-hyped artists, Lang consistently has been a truly talented breath of fresh air. This time around Lang was touring in support of his new album Long Time Coming, and many in the crowd had waited years and traveled cross-country in order to see him perform live.

The crowd released a collective burst of shouts and screams as Lang appeared on stage. With a roar of guitars, the band broke into an explosively intense rendition of Still Rainin’. From the opening note, everyone in the room was transfixed in a kind of magical trance that lasted for the duration of the concert. Lang and his band were mesmerizing as they rocked through a crisp, tight set of new material like the hard-edged Happiness and Misery and the uplifting single Red Light. There were plenty of fan favorites, too. The crowd sang every word of both Rack ’Em Up and Lie To Me, all in one collective gleefully off-key voice. Lang’s vocals were passionate, raw, and intense, and his guitar work was nothing sort of amazing. He stood center-stage, eyes closed, his body rocking back and forth as he played. It seemed as if he was engaged in deep prayer and that God himself was guiding Lang’s fingers across the strings. Teaming up with guitarist Paul Diethelm and bass player Jimmy Anton, the trio created scorching, rising, jamming groves that lifted the crowd to the edge of musical euphoria.

When the concert was over, the audience was emotionally spent, and Lang looked ready to collapse in utter exhaustion. He had poured out his heart and soul, and he had left it lying upon the stage. Jonny Lang is one of a hand full of young musicians who still cares about the power of rock and roll. Even better, he knows how to use it.

Long Time Coming is available from Barnes & Noble.
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Copyright © 2003 The Music Box