~ RANDY HANSEN BAND ~ JULY 17, 2014
The Randy Hansen Band with Randy Hansen, Kevin John Adams (Bass) and Rick Spano (Drums) played a free concert at Heritage Park right outside the State Capitol building in Olympia, Washington for Lakefair, an annual community celebration and it happened to be just a few miles down the road from me so of course, I went!
The Randy Hansen Band is not just a Jimi Hendrix tribute band, Randy is a highly skilled guitarist with vast musical knowledge and technical ability. Randy pulls out all the stops with “Hear My Train A Comin’”. This usually turns into a 15 minute jam with Kevin and Rick holding the back end while Randy whammies his way into the solo, blowing you away with the unique tone that Hendrix first discovered and Randy plays perfectly! He moves right in to using a tapping technique on the fret board while bending and pulling strings with the other. It’s not an easy task to play with your teeth or behind your back, but again, Randy has these difficult techniques mastered.
Showmanship is a huge part of the show. Randy describes his performance on stage as the way he felt as a kid when he heard Jimi Hendrix play. He pulls you right in with his confidence and playfulness, jumping off the stage into the crowd and offering up a chance to strum the strings or bend the whammy bar, always engaging the crowd and encouraging audience participation. He then jumps back on to the stage and does a backward roll into a standing position and sends down a big smile.
The day before the show legendary blues guitarist and singer Johnny Winter passed away and Randy dedicated part of his show to Johnny saying, “We lost a brother, the Texas blues rocker Johnny Winter….this one’s for you Johnny, Johnny B Goode!” Randy really did Johnny proud and yelled into the mic, “ROCK N ROLL!” just like Johnny did on the “Live Johnny Winter And” album, before going into the classic guitar riff. The second song they dedicated to Johnny was a song Jimi Hendrix wrote, produced, and recorded just months before he passed away, Randy saying, “One more for Johnny, this is called Angel.” The song was beautifully played as the love floated and soared in the form of music bringing tears to my eyes.
We got an hour and a half show that included the Who’s, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” which the very talented Rick Spano really hit us hard with his rapid fire drum solo. Kevin John Adams drove us into “Man In A Box” by Alice In Chains with his heavy thumping bass line. This song actually turned into Zeppelin’s, “Wanna Whole Lotta Love” that included a note for note Jimmy Page solo which the crowd appreciated with a very loud response of cheers. Randy finished this song off by playing his guitar with a fast windmill and then tossing his guitar into the air with a twirl, catching and pounding it on the ground, stomping it with the heal of his shoe, causing feedback and distortion, then Randy picked it up off of the ground and launched it once more high in the air with a spin, caught it, gave a fast intense whammy and ended the song. “Thank you, did you have a good time?” Randy asked and then stated, “That’s all I wanna know!” The crowd responded with loud cheers and whistles.
Randy Hansen is an incredible musician and showman who is so impressive in terms of his technical ability; he has truly mastered the craft of playing guitar. Also, is his ability to keep the Hendrix sound and the dream alive. Randy has opened the door for the next generation of guitar players to run through.
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West Coast Correspondent CRRdotEU