RANDY HANSEN ~ A JIMI HENDRIX TRIBUTE
Jazzbones Tacoma, Washington February 22, 2014
Following my obsession for guitar prodigies, last night I was lucky enough to be on the guest list at the Randy Hansen Jimi Hendrix Tribute concert at Jazzbones in Tacoma, Washington. Randy Hansen has two band line-ups, one for the USA and one for Europe. Last night was the USA line up featuring Randy Hansen on guitar and vocals, Kevin John Adams on bass and Rick Spano on drums. The show started around 9 O'clock and finished around 11 with the band giving us a sixteen (plus) song set list!
Jazzbones in Tacoma is a unique club that has everything you may need for a nice evening out; great entertainment featuring jazz, blues, and rock, good food with a full dinner menu and a Sushi Bar, and an upstairs art gallery. Guests have the option to reserve a table if you are the sit-down type during a concert, you can stand in front of the stage, or you can go upstairs where there are chairs to sit or stand looking over the balcony. Me, I'm a stage side rocker!
Randy Hansen started his Jimi Hendrix tribute career in 1977 with a band called "Randy Hansen's Machine Gun" and shared the bill with big headliners like Heart, The Kinks, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, just to name a few. As a Jimi Hendrix Tribute band, Randy is one of the best tribute acts in the world and is officially recognized by the Hendrix family. Not only does Randy share the bill with the big players, but has become one of the greats himself sharing the stage with Uli Jon Roth, Jack Bruce, Steve Miller, Sammy Hagar, and I could go on and on.
As previously noted the Jimi Hendrix Tribute band is Kevin John Adams (USA) on bass and Rick Spano (USA) on drums. Kevin's bass career started in 1976 touring the US and Canada with bands Lodestone, Spyder Davis Blues Band, Spin Gibbous, Fanatic, UVU, and The Belairs. Kevin was greatly influenced by Jimi Hendrix and calls his playing in the band, starting in 2004, a "labor of love." Rick Spano started out playing accordion at a very young age, his father being an accomplished accordianist, but later found his true love, drums! Rick has been studying drums for years and now is a teacher himself in the West Seattle area. Rick currently plays for Randy Hansen, the Overton Berry Trio, the Scott Rosburg Project, and the Tim Turner Band.
Randy, Kevin, and Rick together form the brilliant USA, Randy Hansen Jimi Hendrix Tribute Band. The chemistry between them was explosive as they started out the first three in one "Tobacco Road/Stone Free/Fire" song. Randy Hansen's guitar became silent during Stone Free and Randy said, "Think I blew up my amp, but we got another one." Kevin Adams and Rick Spano kept the music going giving us a strong up-beat rhythm while Randy made the switch.
Randy played "Hear My Train A Comin'" next and this is when I noticed how much he represented Jimi Hendrix. He played a one minute solo with his teeth as he backed into the crowd almost as if he was going to crowd surf, but then stepped forward back on to the stage. Continuing with his solo he used his voice and mimicked the same notes on his guitar. The audience was really getting in to the show now, people from the bar started coming up to the stage.
The next song, "Can You See Me" started with an awesome funky bass solo and drum entrance then Randy swung his guitar to his side and tapped his guitar string with one finger while engaging the crowd, encouraging us to make some cheerful noise which we happily obliged. They went on to play "You Got Me Floating" and in the middle of this song Rick Spano gave an incredible, high energy drum solo showcasing his talent for jazz/rock style drumming.
Randy playing a black and white Fender American Standard Stratocaster thus far said, "I brought all these guitars and I'm gonna play em'" switching to a Fender American Standard Strat with a Maple Fingerboard then went on to play "Foxy Lady." following which, Randy smiled at the crowd and switched back to his black and white Strat and played "Midnight" and "I Don't Live Today."
The show up to this point was truly amazing, but then we had "Little Wing" and to be honest the performance was spectacular! Sublime even. Randy playing beautifully and melodically throughout the song then proceeded to leave the stage and step up onto a table and play the most electrifying solo using his teeth and playing behind his back. You can imagine a showstopper for sure and Randy had everyone's full attention. People sitting upstairs came off of their seats and stood at the balcony to see this incredible moment. Randy left the table and with his back towards the stage jumped up and did a backwards roll back on to the stage, guitar still strapped in position. The noise from the crowd was deafening as people cheered. People now abandoned their reserved seating and packed us in at the stage.
They went on to play seven more songs with plenty of audience participation, "Ain't No Telling," "Freedom" Are You Experienced?," The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," where Randy could have been a great contender for the Roger Daltrey's long shout at the end, YEAH............. "Hey Joe," "All Along The Watchtower," "Voodoo Chile"/Alice In Chains "Man In The Box," and for the encore "Purple Haze."
The show was extraordinary! I wasn't fortunate enough to see Jimi Hendrix in concert, but during the Randy Hansen show I not only felt like I was experiencing what it would have been like to see Jimi in concert, I was also feeling as though I had witnessed something incredible which I am sure seeing Jimi Hendrix would have been.
There is much musical snobbery around when it comes to artists paying tribute to other artists. In this instance Randy Hansen's performance transcends that. This is more than a tribute...this is almost at times channeling the spirit of Jimi Hendrix but at no time were we aware that Randy was just going through an act. This performance LIVES!
Tour Dates: http://randyhansen.com/calendar
March 11: Trattoria Amante in Issaquah, Washington
March 16: Tulalip Resort Casino in Marysville, Washington
March 21: Tonic Lounge in Portland, Oregon
April 02- 07: Live on The Moody Blues Cruise
April 12: Louie G's Pizza in Fife, Washington
April 24: Scala Cantina, Club, Cinema in Leverkusen-Opladen
April 25: Räucherei, Preetzer Str. 35, 24143 Kiel, Germany
April 26: Royal Irene Muziektheater, Steegstraat 21, 5921 GJ Venlo-Blerick
April 27: Musiktheater Piano, Lütgendortmunder Str.43, 44388 Dortmund, Germany
April 29: Object 5, Seebener Str. 5, 06114 Halle, Germany
April 30: Hot Jazz Club, Hafenweg 26b, 48155 Münster, Germany
May 02: Altes E-Werk Nierstein, Pestalozziplatz 1, 55283 Nierstein, Germany
May 03: Kulturzentrum ´Stadthaus`, 38, avenue Charlotte, 4530 Differdange, Luxenburg
Randy Hansen Website:
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Review by Jill Maciel
West Coast Correspondent for CRRdotEU
Photography by Scott Banning